This post appeared yesterday on RealMoney . Click here for a free trial, and enjoy incisive commentary all day, every day.With all the news out this week about Big Pharma mergers (not to mention stem cell research), it got me thinking about that industry, specifically the patent process. After all, these companies are all about their pipelines and their intellectual property. Why does the patent process exist? Does it make sense? Clearly, we'd all pay much less for drugs if we didn't have to wait around for years to be able to buy generics as opposed to brand names. It would be a good thing to scrap patents altogether, wouldn't it?