"A good number of the panelists recognized the dysfunctionality of the current patent system as it relates to software and business method patents. They acknowledged such problems for software developers as unmanageable litigation risks, the fuzzy and unpredictable boundaries of software patents, and the difficulties of identifying relevant patents. A couple of scholars noted that large software firms, among others, publicly opposed software patents in the 1980s. Some of the harm from software patents is obvious. Do they provide any compensating benefit? There was little, if any, evidence that they encourage innovation. Although the number of software patents has exploded in recent years, one panelist expressed doubt that success in the technology area was associated with patent ownership. He observed that had the young Bill Gates been confronted at the outset with the litigation risks of tens of thousands of software patents, he might have chosen to exercise his entrepreneurial skills in a field other than software. The point, of course, is that the current system to some extent discourages innovation and entrepreneurship – a travesty of its intended purpose."