The patent process has run amok. "Discoveries [...] that would benefit the
public [...] could be thwarted by an increasingly compex intellectual
prperty regime," reported a National Academy of Sciences Panel. Here's an
example: Metabolite Labs was charged with attempting to patent a "law of
nature" regarding relative levels of vitamins and amino acids. Their
response? Attorney Glen Beaton said he would "call it a guideline of
nature, more than a law of nature." The US Supreme Court has agreed to rule
on the dispute. Science 4 & 25 Nov 2005.