Over at Slashdot there is an interesting discussion about a not for profits wanting comapnies to give them access to the companies unused patents. Even state governments (in the USA) support this.
I think this is a great idea because having patents just sitting around stifles the economy and creative development; all the patent holders get out of this is a lack of competition.
Countless patents â€” including the one used to start up Kotecha’s company, Yokit â€” sit unused when companies decide not to develop them into products. Now, not-for-profit groups and state governments are asking companies to donate dormant patents so they can be passed to local entrepreneurs who try to build businesses out of them.