Patent clerks are no Einsteins?
It's rather pathetic to see Bill Gates speaking at TED of Nathan's company and the great feats that they potentially may realise (we know it as vaporware). Nathan's company is presented by Bill as an entity that's going to improve the world by achieving U238 nuclear fission, amongst other things. Those other things apparently involve being a robber baron of the software industry. What's new?
One way to at least refine the software patenting process would be to start suing the patent office instead of having companies fight amongst each other. With enough legal pressure, the patent office would have to reform, hopefully for the better. However, no corporation -which has its own patent portfolio- will ever challenge the patent office on the validity of software patents.
Apparently, only the ACLU has the conviction of suing the patent office, although this concerned patenting genetic software, i.e. genes.