In 1968, Martin Goetz received the first ever software patent, for an "improved data sorting algorithm". Little did he know that he'd set a precedent which would, over time, turn into a legal shit storm.
Or, as Goetz beautifully puts it in this profile by PBS, "a little bit of a mess." Regardless of how bad you think the problem, it's fascinating to hear his take on why software patents seemed useful at the time, what securing that first one meant for him and—of course—the current state of things. [YouTube via Engadget]