As someone that have to run circles around stupid, generalized software patents I couldn't agree more.
2. software patents are stupid and should be removed anyway. If one person had an idea there is sure as hell another person that has the same idea. tbh, the whole patent thing is just considered the "2nd most stupid thing ever 'invented'" by me. Right after weapons.
... You're being very naive.
4. in case you really signed a contract about something like that, you should be abandoned in the desert and even if you manage to get out alive, you should be banned from using a computer EVER again. There is not a single good reason why something should be kept secret. If something needs to be kept secret, it's something that shouldn't be done in the first place, since you don't want the public to know about it and if you don't want the public to know about something it must be considered 'bad' by moral implications of society, thus it must not be done.