The danger of software patents

Given that it looks like an unpleasant truth that the US-AU "Free Trade" Agreement will get passed and almost certainly bring us gems of legislation like the DMCA and US patent law

It’s the Patent Law that is especially frightening for those of us in the IT industry, if you wonder why then please read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald about
how a lawyer recommends that the patent system be abused, including:

Monopolies are the only way to make real money these days, and patents are fantastic because they allow you to establish legal monopolies.

It was necessary not only to patent the way we were doing things, but also to think laterally, and patent all the ways other people might do them as well, not so that we could actually do these things ourselves, but so we could prevent others from doing them.

I find it amazing that someone can say that sort of thing and it not raise serious alarm bells..

Now given the first quote, and the fact that Microsoft are busy applying for patents in the US at the rate of around 10 a day, what does that say to you about the sort of things they might try and do with them.