I was listening to NPR today and heard about a major announcement by IBM about their intent to be more responsible about patenting, in part by participating in a trial program to publish their patent applications online for peer review, and commiting resources to the "Community Patent Review" program. After hearing a positive comment from Pam Samuelson, I decided it was actually an important development. IBM is the 800-lb gorilla of patents - if any single organization can influence the patent system in the US, its IBM...
As part of this effort, IBM has published a great (balanced, honest, realistic, stimulating) report on the results of an effort of interested community members around a wiki focused on addressing issues in the patent system: "Building a new IP Marketplace".
If you want to get involved, there's a wiki for organizing the Community Patent Review effort (called "Peer 2 Patent"). I note that this is a Beth Noveck (of NY Law School) project -- the "dotank" desribes itself this way:
The Do Tank strives to strengthen the ability of groups to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves by designing software and legal code to promote collaboration. Tools alone cannot create a culture of strong groups. Hence Do Tank projects address the role of legal and political institutions, social and business practices and the visual and graphical technologies -- what we term the "social code" -- that may allow groups, not only to foster community, but to take action.
The dotank did some interesting stuff with my favorite alternate reality: Second Life.