Some prisoners tried to get themselves out of jail by abusing copyright. They ended up in trouble of course, but one of the things they got in trouble for was extortion. It is hard to imagine how that might stick considering the prisoners are using the same system that “patent holders” are using on a regular basis.
The question then is why aren’t patent hoarding companies held to the same standard? Techdirt put it nicely when they said that
people are beginning to realize that it can be used as a hammer for all kinds of ridiculous lawsuits that have absolutely nothing to do with creating incentives for the creation of new content
I’d put it a bit more sharply. Greedy people without any ideas are abusing a poorly designed system meant to protect people with ideas from greedy people without ideas.
These greedy folks will make it harder for businesses to start and flourish, but they will also limit a lot of things for consumers. It means that products and services will cost more and that innovative products and services will be stifled. Lawyers have convinced doctors to patent medical procedures, convinced accountants to patent tax-strategies, and of course didn’t even need to convince large incumbent companies from using patents to stamp down rival startups.