I had similar issues, I now use a mouse and keyboard that have rechargeable batteries, and they charge through a micro usb so my phone charger works on them. Normally I can plug them in when I'm away but if I get caught in the middle of something then it becomes a corded device.
"I wonder how long before we'd lose software patents?"
It wouldn't happen. The current system is built to handle this, they just make people re-apply an indeterminate amount of times until they rubber stamp it.
Then if there are multiple patents that appear similar, let the courts sort it out, everyone wins system functions as expected.
What needs to happen is for the public to finally decide to point the gun back at the maximalists and say either roll all IP law back to where it was originally or we will abolish it completely.
The funny thing is, as much as the maximalists hate and fear that decision, I'm pretty sure that they are going to keep pushing so hard that when the public finally does rise up, the roll back option will be off the table.
While I am loathe to suggest more government involvement, perhaps the solution lies with the FTC.
If I go to the store and by something "by the pound" or purchase gasoline "by the gallon" the vendor is required to use a state certified device to measure with and there is a sticker on the device to tell all customers when it was last certified.
If an ISP wishes to bill "by the __________" then require them to have certified meters in place that the consumer can clearly see were tested and certified.
I suspect they would give up on this practice pretty quickly. Of course what they replace it with could be worse.
" Accordingly, patent policy does not support unquestioned protection of every inventor‘s rights, but instead favors ―eliminating unwarranted patent grants so the public will not 'continually be required to pay tribute to would-be monopolists without need or justification.' "
That should be on the top of every patent application in bold. and again with a box next to it with a "I have read and understand" clause by the signature.
I suspect more than a few maximalists are freaking out over that bit.
A simple litmus test concerning whether or not any such effort would actually be reasonable on intellectual property issues: If Hatch has his name on it, it stinks. The louder he is opposed to it, the better it is for the unwashed masses.