The problem with these sorts of patents is that even though one may have definitive prior art -- which should invalidate the patent, IMO -- the cost and time required to fight it in court is often seen as way too big a battle for a small to mid size company to fight.
The patent holder has a very big club for shutting down and out any competitors that may come along to provide folks a better or cheaper offering.
I could accept that with a physical invention for a few years to reward the innovator -- but not with ideas, business methods, software logic, concepts, etc. that are only a part of what stills need to be turned into actual products and services for a consumer to choose.
Imagine you are "you.com inc.", you do something which google (or any company -- not picking on google here) claims is covered by their patent (if granted). Google sends you a cease and desist letter, you find prior art, but then find out that just to appear in court to fight a patent lawsuit can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees -- if not a couple of million. Plus, it will likely take years, and you have to post a bond in case you lose in court to compensate them if you want to continue to do what they claim they have a patent on.
Most folks "fold". Thus stops innovation and improved offerings at better prices for everyone else.
This type of stuff will be one of THE major negative impacts on innovation and the improving standard of living for all of us for a long time. No telling how many better products and services at better prices patents on non-inventions prevent...that we all will never know we would have had, thanks to congress and others in control of this world wide not fixing this patent mess.
IMO, ideas, concepts, business methods, program logic, etc. need to be declared as un-patenable. Heck, some folks don't even own all their own DNA anymore, since some company that "discovers" a gene patents it -- which they did not "invent", of course -- and thus has ownership of what you can do with you.
This intellectual property stuff is a royal mess for our times.
FWIW, other opinions are welcome, accepted and respected, but arguments are not (at least by me).