The basic problem is that when the patent laws were written, not much was know about genetics--thus if you bred or found a particular trait, you could patent it.
As things went on, it became more important to know which genes controlled the trait--you could no longer patent the entire organism as easily.
Copyright/trademark/patents all need to be re-worked as things have changed a lot, and are changing more daily.
Copyrights & patents are TEMPORARY monopolies granted by the State under the condition that you disclose the invention.
Over the years, the actual 'disclosure' has been ignored by the office--disclosure means you should be able to replicate the device from the patent filing, but for decades most patents have been written to obscure rather than disclose details...such patents should never, by rights, been issued.
The purpose is to get inventors to disclose their inventions to encourage others to developed improve them. Like many government intents, this has been subverted by private interests.
One change which would be a vast improvement (besides ensuring that documentation really does 'disclose' the invention,) would be to stop treating IP crimes as civil matterrs and treat them as the criminal theft that they actually are.
By treating them as civil matters, whoever has the deepest pockets will win..small companies & individuals generally lose such cases because they run out of money, whereupon they are bought out cheaply.
This is because civil suits are brought privately and each side pays their expenses, with the winner usually getting their expenses paid for by the loser.
Criminal cases are handled quite differently, since crimes are by definition acts against the State, as well as the involved victims. Criminal cases are prosecuted by the government, and the responsibility of the complainant lies primarily in providing the government with sufficient evidence of violation for prosecution. A patent holder is assumed to have a valid claim until proven otherwise (since the government awarded them the patent.)
Our most recent travesty in patents is the change from 'first inventor' to 'first filer.'
This change makes it extremely easy to use industrial espionage to steal other's work, as most complex patents require quite a bit of work to bring to market.
As with other changes, this favors the larger companies.
Patent periods should probably be expended, since the 20 ears of a patent is just about equal to the time it takes to move new developments from lab to market.
Periodically there are pushes to increase copyright--currently to forever. But the purpose of copyright is again, to encourage distribution of the work and encourage others by providing a period of time in which you hold a monopoly, so as to provide compensation for the creation.
Copyright, designed to protect the creators of work, was rapidly subverted quite early on by publishers, who, finding that creators were usually broke, began buyng all rights for a single one-time fee...thus becoming the owner of the copyright with the exploitation monopoly. (Poe's "The Raven" produced some income for him as he read the poem in theaters for audiences, but like most of his work, the real earnings went to the publisher.
Some parts of the publishing world still operate under this model--most regrettably in the publication of scientific papers, since distribution of such work is vital to the advancement of science, and is furthermore time-critical.
This capture of the information makes the cost of doing research much higher, drive individuals out of research because without money, there is no access to the current work, and this know way to integrate new findings into your research.
Spider Robinson made the observation many years ago, that because music is a subset of sound determined by largely physical and mental characteristics of humans, the number of different patterns of music is limited, thus, if copyright is extended too long, there will be no available music copyrighted.
My thought is--if you want to copyright the genes which cause cancer, then you should become responsible for the damages done by your 'invention.'
This is in line with my feeling that if you want to prevent abortions, you should personally be held responsible for the care of unwanted children.
If you claim the mineral rights and mine the land, then you are responsible for ensuring that your actions do no damage to others.
It only makes sense that those who benefit from the exploitation of resources be held responsible for all costs incurred due to that exploitation...an idea which would hold oil companies responsible for their oil cradle to grave, air/land/sea pollution and all.
None of these are likely to happen, because government's primary purpose is to move public resources into private hands while leaving all of the responsibility and costs of clean-up to the public--who nearly always sold the resources for tiny percentages of their true value...because public property sales are made by individuals within the government, who are very interested in personal profit.