The patent system is often misunderstood. It’s sold as a way of giving the little guy an opportunity to create something big … when in fact patents don’t really work that way at all.
What they do very well is keep the big guys entrenched and the little guys out. For example, it’s very common in established industries for all of the majors to buy up or file as many patents as they can covering a particular area. They know and accept that the other majors are all in the same industry and essentially cross-license each other to keep the peace within that defined market. But they use that arsenal to stop new entrants coming in and disrupting the market.