... who, as the GP points out, played the game with the best of them. Live by the patent sword, die by the patent sword.
I like the idea someone posted on HN a few months ago; it should be possible to "opt out" of the patent system entirely. You can't be sued for patent infringement, but you also can't hold any patents yourself. Let's do that, and watch the market determine whether patents are really good for innovation or not.
So if Nest had owned no patents, Honeywell would not have sued them? I find this exceedingly hard to believe.
This is a stupid idea.
Basically, anyone who does actually invent something that's legitimately worth patenting (by whatever metric you please), then patents it and (as required by the process of patenting) details the invention, somebody can just come along and take that work and use it and the inventor gets screwed.
Fix the patent system or ditch it. The opt-out idea, though, is nonsensical.