Thanks for your insights on all this.
In my line of work, tech, patents are a strange animal indeed. In theory while its supposed to allow ideas and innovation to make into the public with financial protections, as a practical matter it was odd to say the least.
I've sat in no fewer than 3 meetings with lawyers instructing us to never, ever, ever look up/read/analyze any other company's patents and especially not those of a direct competitor. And god forbid if we did, never share ideas in company emails or even on company premises. Also had a co-worker author and write the most beautiful technical patent I've ever seen, only to be told it was far too specific and detailed and do the whole thing over from scratch so it was incredibly vague.
As far as I could tell, they were only encouraged so Executives could whip them out in braggartly style and exclaim "behold my war-chest" and/or use them as an excuse to sue and counter-sure competitors willy nilly for any and all reasons, whether it was related to the patent or not.