@ I look forward...
Absolutely. In principle, we, the humans, make up the rules that govern those other intelligent entities, the corporations. Having a rule about ownership of IP seems like a good idea in many cases, particularly where such IP is hard to come by (like discovering new drugs) since without ownership, companies wouldn't have a reason to put in the effort to discover them in the first place.
Unfortunately, the existing rules have a lot of unintended side-effects, notably that they can be used to claim ownership of things that already exist or that would have been invented independently very soon anyway. If you're exploring a large space where progress is very costly, it makes sense to give people the territory they discover (for a while). If on the other hand, there is a tidal wave of activity likely to swamp any newly discovered area within a year or two (as in the multi-touch patents), it makes no sense to allow a company to claim ownership and fight others off.
But, unfortunately, the current situation is great for the agents who handle the ownership and defense process, and to some extent it works well for the very big players too. The agents (patent lawyers) have no interest in taking away their source of livelihood, even if they are essentially just parasitic on the real activity of making cool things.
So, in principle, we, the voters could just adjust the laws to make the rules reflect what is economically optimal. Unfortunately, the biggest players like the rules, because they keep competition at bay, and the parasites have got themselves into the rule-adjusting process too - lawyers arguing about laws etc. Geez, I'm almost making myself sympathize with the Tea party.
Various things could improve the situation, like making the patent office pay if they award a patent that is later proved invalid or making the claimant pay if their claim is declared frivolous but these don't really fix the core issue that as a society it isn't very sensible of us to impose a notion of single ownership around things that multiple entities are likely to invent independently at relatively modest cost. The tricky thing, of course, is knowing whether someone else is likely to invent something. Having a look to see if it has been done already would be a good guide, but even this appears to be beyond the patent' office's remit.