There is a gold rush on intellectual property, testing the coherence of IP law. Many are bordering on the absurd, here is an example reported at Techdirt:
more bizarre is the lawsuit the company is facing down in Chile where Microsoft dared to offer a version of its software in the Mapuzugun language used by about 400,000 indigenous Chileans without first getting the permission of Mapuche tribal leaders. The tribal leaders are claiming that this is “intellectual piracy,” though that seems like a rather difficult stance to defend legally. Either way, it suggests just how far the concept of “intellectual property” is permeating, and just how ridiculous the situations that result from its spread are.
The EFF maintains a patent buster site which tracks absurd patent awards. Check it out here. Unfortunately they are very information technology focused whereas I suspect the majority of patents society should be worrying about are happening in the field of genetics and bioengineering.