Are patents invisible art?

NPR reported about a woman who paid $10,000 for a non-visible work of art:
...the idea of the [Museum of Non-Visible Art] is that the works of art don't exist physically, instead they are imagined by the artist. So when you purchase the "work of art" you get a "card" to hang on an empty wall and you "describe it to your audience. Amazingly, the museum just made one big sale. A woman paid $10,000 for a piece titled Fresh Air.
When asked why she bought the non-visible piece, the woman explained:
As a new media producer, I was inspired by the [artist's] sentence, "We exchange ideas and dreams as currency in the New Economy." I felt that the act of purchasing "Fresh Air" supported my thesis about a concept I term "you-commerce," which is the marketing and monetization of one's persona, skills, and products via the use of social media and self-broadcasting platforms.
Sounds crazy, eh? Why would anyone pay money for art they cannot see? I mean, it is not even a sketch of an eventual visible piece. Just an idea in the artist's mind. She must have been off her rocker!

But wait. Is it really that remarkable? Companies pay money for mere ideas all the time. They buy rights to products just to keep them off the market. Drug makers file patents just to sit on them so competitors don't develop competing drugs.

Last week we heard about an auction where Apple, RIM, Ericsson, EMC, Microsoft and Sony bought 6,000 patents and patent applications from bankrupt Canadian telecom giant Nortel. The patents cover wireless, Internet search and social-networking technologies. The winning bid was $4.5 billion.

What do winners plan to do with the patents? Not sure. According to Dow Jones they "stock up their arsenals for raging legal battles over smartphones, Web advertising and whatever comes next in the multitrillion-dollar technology wars."

Which is crazier: $10k for fresh air or $4.5 billion for whatever comes next?