> Patents were developed to allow the inventer of something to obtain a reward for the
> effort required to invent it. Historically there was little point in inventing something if it
> was immediately ripped off by a larger outfit.
Oh dear. Generally, I can't be arsed to get into Freetard arguments, but I've got some important work waiting to be done.
Patents were developed to allow the state to obtain details of inventions that would otherwise have remained secret. Period. The idea is that the state buys the details of your invention from you; in return, the state grants you the right to a fixed-period monopoly (maybe 17 years) on your invention, in whatever territory that state has jurisdiction.
You don't need to enter into this deal with the state (yours, or any other); you can just keep your invention secret, and risk other people finding out about it. I'm not aware of any state, anywhere, which is in the business of rewarding people for their hard work.
Of course, there are problems. The ones I'm aware of are in the US; these are fundamentally due, I think, to Franklin's view that "any of the works of man" are patentable. This is completely unworkable in practice, and leads to large numbers of trivial patents from which the state gains nothing, and whose only purpose is to stifle competition. These problems don't exist in the other countries I'm familiar with.
If Ms. Andersdotter really thinks that the fix to these problems is to abolish patents, then she really is very, very, thick.