Inventors: The First Software Patent & The Digital Camera

PBS Digital Studios continues their great work with Inventors. Inventors is a series of portrait videos by filmmaker and photographer David Friedman, chronicling the work of contemporary inventors from all walks of life. It offers rare glimpses into the inspiration for their creations. Here we take a look at the very first software patent and the invention of the digital camera.


There's a good chance that you've heard about the controversy around software patents, but you probably don't know the story of Martin Goetz, who got the very first software patent in 1968. Today, some people say that software patents owned by big companies end up stifling innovation in small companies, but the first software patent was a tool that enabled a small company to compete against a big corporation. 

You can see the first ever software patent here

For a more complete and nuanced look at Martin Goetz's views on software patents, see the article he wrote for zdnet.


Steven Sasson invented the digital camera in 1975 while working at Kodak in Rochester, NY. In this video, he shows off features of the original prototype, and describes how digital imaging has expanded beyond anything he could have imagined.

You can see the original patent here

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit

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