Back in 2002, a company called PanIP started threatening lawsuits to small businesses who conduct business on the internet. They claim that all e-commerce falls under two patents they own, and therefor anybody selling online has to pay them ridiculous sums of money or they'll be party to a lawsuit. Legal hilarity ensued, and ultimately PanIP climbed back under the rock from whence they came (hey, it's not like the actually make anything that needs patent protection... they just file patents for the sake of filing patents which should be illegal).
Flash forward to today and PanIP is at it once again! They found yet another scum-sucking, ass-biting, piece of shit lawyer to start extorting money from smaller e-businesses for the right to sell online because of two obtuse patents which are so broad in scope that it's easier to say what they don't cover as opposed to what they are actually patents for.
Since everything is run by computers on the internet now-a-days, you would think that this kind of patent would be summarily rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office... but since he USPTO won't get up off their asses and overturn such ridiculously stupid approvals from way back in 1994, small businesses are left with no choice but to pay PanIP extortion money because it's too expensive to fight them in court.
As if small businesses in the US didn't have a hard enough time surviving, now they have to put up with free-trade inhibiting lawsuits supported by a government that is supposed to protect them from this sort of thing. Broad, sweeping patents like those held by PanIP are baseless and should be immediately revoked. Slimy lawyers that choose to pervert the law to take advantage of our weak patent structure should be disbarred or shot. I'm just waiting for some ass-wipe to patent "a method of recording thoughts and ideas via electronic storage for distribution over a network" and decides I have to pay him for creating this blog (hey, it's probably closer than you think!). How long before the USA just implodes from stupid lawyer shit like this?