In 1965, Marty Goetz filed the first software patent in history -- sparking a 15-year controversy about whether that should even be allowed. In the 1960s, he led a challenge against IBM's monopoly, in particular its bundling of various software programs as part of its operating systems.
Software, after all, was a set of instructions put together to do a task, that task being an invention, Goetz and Jacobs agreed. So on April 8, 1965, Goetz filed for the patent. He received it three years later -- on April 28, 1968 -- as U.S. Patent No. 3,380,029 for "Sorting System."