First, the number of patents being filed worldwide is decreasing with the exception of the Chinese.
USPTO has a 700,000+ backlog of patent applications but doesn't have the fee revenue they need to step up the pace. David Kappos is the new Director. He will have his hands full.
One of the leading companies innovating in the technology space that said, "The patents are so complicated that the lawyers don't know how to write the application, we can't find meaningful or understandable prior art, and the PTO doesn't understand the technology when they get the application."
PTO issued patents on "pod casting" that look like the exact same technology that Tibco and Marimba has in the 90s. Article One Partners has put a bounty on a patent that describes what it believes is the same technology as Twitter - emergency broadcasting of message to a set of people who are supposed to get the messages.
So what we have here is a double edged conundrum. No one knows what a meaningful NEW invention is because they get buried in the weeds or are too hard to understand. Fewer and fewer people know how to create a compelling application that explains what their invention is without obfuscation, mumbo-jumbo and words that have little meaning in the real world. There aren't enough people out there who understand prior art and who can identify the "Ah Ha" moment in patents. It was a slow week.