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> So back in 1997, the technology was actually transformational at that time

I was there. No it wasn't.

E.g., here's a slashdot article from 1999 with a bunch of comments complaining about it: https://slashdot.org/story/99/10/12/1826242/amazoncom-receiv.... And Japan rejected the patent as obvious in 2001.

US Software patents are pathological because the only novel part of most interesting software is the mathematics. So the only things that are patentable are dumb and obvious systems built on top of the actual contribution. Crypto is the epitome of this pattern because all of the Turing-award-level mathematics was not patentable but "that meth but with blockchain" or "that math but with more bytes" is patentable. It's dumb and the opposite of innovation.

Dijkstra's algorithm is another good example of the main innovation never being patented but a bunch of obvious stuff built on top of it receiving patent protection.

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