We live in a world where the most heard group convinces itself it is the majority when, in reality, it is only the loudest.
That aside, it should be recognized that this sort of problem existed since the beginning of the patent system. In fact, I recall that the invention of the telephone had two different groups submitting the same patent on nearly the same day. However, Alexander Graham Bell's patent was the one processed first, so he ultimately got the patent protection.
The problem is, patents were intended to cover true physical inventions... such as a coil of copper wire around an iron core, combined with other specific structures to serve a particular purpose. It involved experimentation and research.
With software, it's a completely different monster. Whereas you could have someone accidentally stumble upon the galvanization of rubber in the lab... you wouldn't really have someone accidentally stumbling upon a new piece of software when they intended something else. Ultimately, any virtual idea you can think of, you can program a computer to do. So, computer programs are really more of the realization of virtual ideas than actual inventions. Otherwise, I could just come up with the "idea" of putting a banner at the top of pages, and patent it... and if that's already taken, come up with the "idea" of putting a banner at the bottom of pages, and patent it... eventually, everyone will have come up with every conceivable layout for web pages preventing anyone else from being able to build a website without paying patent licensing fees, which would be ridiculous.
Consider that Amazon has a patent regarding "one click checkout". Who grabbed the patent on "two click checkout" and "three click checkout"?
I think it's perfectly fine to patent a novel approach to touch screens or other manner of invention of physical contraptions. However, the idea of patenting software concepts just ties the hands of programmers the world over.