“In Tsarist Russia, ideas patent YOU!”
“Eventually, someone will take US Patent No. 000000001 - for the time machine.”
General George Patent, born in San Gabriel, California, on 11th November, 1885, was the first general of the United States Patent Office. He led the first American offensive against the obesity of Adolf Hitler in the Battle of the Bulge.
The patent was first discovered by a young Albert Einstein in 1916 during a camping trip with childhood companion and fellow big hair afficionado, Buckwheat. According to legend, the two were playing a game of hide-the-spoon when Buckwheat accused Einstein of cheating. Furious, Einstein ran off into the woods. He came across a small clearing. Inside a hollow stump, he found the world's first patent, still inside its shell.
The First Patent Office
Once he had unraveled the formula for creating a patent, Einstein opened the world's first patent office. It consisted of a small wooden stand in his front yard where he sold patents and lemonade for five cents, more if you wanted sugar. Unfortunately, he forgot to get a patent for the idea. It was soon copied all over the world and Einstein's office was bought out by the competition, leading to the invention of the unemployment office.
The Patent on Patents
The patent on patents themselves is now held by the International Business Machines corporation, and has been duly registered in all of these competing patent offices. This patent describes, as a proprietary invention, "A system and methods for extracting value from a portfolio of assets, for example a patent portfolio, are described. By granting floating privileges described herein, a portfolio owner can extend an opportunity for obtaining an interest in selected assets from the portfolio to a client who lacks the resources to accumulate and maintain such a portfolio, in return for an annuity stream to the portfolio owner. The floating privilege can take many forms, depending on the needs of the client and the nature of the assets in the portfolio. The privilege is executed for a set of assets selected by the client and approved by the portfolio owner in accordance with a floating privilege agreement controlling the floating privilege." 
As such, all holders of all existing patents are currently being sued by IBM, for patent infringement of the patent on patents, a master patent that unites all patents and, like a magical ring, binds them so that no lesser corporate mortal may cast them asunder. Furthermore, the Patent Office itself is being sued for patent infringement under this master patent. Thus speaketh Big Blue.
Modern Day Patents
In modern times, patents have become hard to obtain. This may stem from the fact that everything was invented in 1976, and we have yet to improve upon it. In spite of this, people still submit items for patents in hopes of slipping through the cracks and stealing someone else's idea. Examples of this can be seen anywhere from off-brand snack foods to that guy who kind of looks like Homer Simpson but isn't.