Sort of like with the Iran-Iraq War, the ideal scenario would be for both sides to lose:
For years and much to their frustration, big banks have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a tiny Texas company to use a patented system for processing digital copies of checks, making Claudio Ballard, the inventor of the system, a wealthy man and the bank industry’s biggest patent foe. After years of fighting Mr. Ballard at the federal Patent Office, in court and across a negotiating table, the banks went to see one of their best friends in Congress, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who inserted into a patent overhaul bill a provision that appears largely aimed at helping banks rid themselves of the Ballard problem. The Senate passed the bill easily in March.
To me, though, the idea of getting rid of the “Ballard problem” through an ad hoc bill typifies everything that’s going wrong with American politics. The patent system in the United States is sufficiently broken that it harms the interests of all kinds of people, including politically powerful bank executives. But instead of their power being applied to generate momentum for some kind of reform, their power is being used to create an ad hoc provision that will let them slip the leash. If this gets done, the prospects for systematic reform get even bleaker and little guys who can’t get Senators to insert special provisions into legislation on their behalf get even worse.