Unfortunately, this article is just speculation. IBM is processing and mining the patent database, but everything else in the article - particularly the parts about about finding prior art ("battling patent trolls") is the from the ExtremeTech author, not IBM.
Having IBM make a Watson instance that is dedicated to all patents would require a significant investment by IBM. It seems like it takes a lot of time and money to create specialized Watson instances. They have a specialized one that recognizes pharmaceutical patents right now. In the long run it would make sense to create something that fights patent trolls because the initial investment might pay itself off by avoiding patent licencing or having people find prior art etc...
IBM Watson team is focused on medical data mining now. Training IBM Watson just for Jeopardy took over 7 years. They are struggling how to make Watson learn faster. It's not the CPU or RAM limitations. There are a lot of custom pipeline building that needs to happen. Medical data is usually behind firewalls, password protected. Even medical books and articles are not easily accessible. There is no place for side projects.
how long before Watson discovers how profitable patent trolling can be for a brain powerhouse like it [he can or soon will be able to generate "method and apparatus for user interaction with interactive screen through rest interface" faster than thousands SV programmers] and switches sides? :)
I think virmundi is referring to the now-famous story of IBM using their huge patent arsenal to attack companies in the 1980s:
'An awkward silence ensued. The blue suits did not even confer among themselves. They just sat there, stonelike. Finally, the chief suit responded. "OK," he said, "maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk [IBM headquarters in New York] and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?"'
I was really bothered by this too. I like to have whatever I'm reading be near the middle of the screen so I have context; the forced pagination makes you keep a finger on the screen at all times fighting it.