Tech patents, as opposed to pure invention, are a huge hurdle for innovation. Ever heard of patent trolls? They're leach-like organizations that look for anything software-related that hasn't yet been patented, patent it, and then make money by suing the pants off of the original creator, or charging huge licensing fees.
As a developer, I see every day examples of iterative development. That is, new functionality that's based on previously existing functionality. The number of patents that are being issued for things like 'a button with rounded corners that says "submit"' are ridiculous and are incredibly stifling. A musical parallel for you Denny: Imagine that you wanted to write a song, but Jimmy Page had patented the A minor blues scale, and any notes you used from or in relation to that scale had to be licensed and approved. How horrible would that be?
Patenting is bad. It's an outdated system that tries to apply 18th century strategies to 21st century problems. Copyright of works etc is fine, so long as it is not used to stifle REAL creativity and innovation. The Samsung Galaxy II is not an example of real creativity and innovation, viz. the documentation (revealed in court) passed around by Samsung execs saying, effectively, 'we must do everything Apple is doing.' That's where the 'deliberately attempting to confuse consumers' bit comes in.