My mom told me always taught me not to rest on my laurels. I'm not sure where she learned that but it has rung true through out my life experiences. Looking in the history is educational but if you are to improve you must look forward.
Patents allow companies to rest on their laurels of restricting the use of ideas by others. This process of preventing others from building on an idea is unnatural and can not last.Someone with an idea has two options. To share the idea or to keep their idea to themselves. Regardless of the profit potential of the idea people will share their ideas.
Profits should only be assured to companies by their sheer tenacity to improve humanity not by obtaining some temporary monopoly over an idea. This age of patents is the feudal age of ideas. Freedom isn't free but it is always worth it.