And so it was, approximately 40 years ago, that Satya Pal Asija created Swift-Answer, a piece of software used for "full text, free-form, narrative, information input, storage and retrieval." With his creation, Asija set forth on a quest to get his software patented -- not copyrighted, mind you -- in order to offer software creators the same protection from imitators that other inventors were offered. And 28 years ago, on May 26, the world's first software patent was approved.
It took another six years (and a law degree) before he was able to file his patent for Swift-Answer and, after that, a seven year court battle over his right to patent software. On May 26, 1981, Satya Pal Asija was granted US patent number 4,270,182, making him the first person to patent a piece of software and leading the way for thousands of others. And oh yeah, dude's still at it!
[Via Patent Arcade]