The difference between this situation and the current situation is that in 1957, the patent office had inspectors who were familiar with the technology, and who would reject attempts to patent devices that did not work, or which had become part of standard industry techniques decades beforehand.
Today, we have the additional issue that the patent office does not have enough inspectors with actual familiarity with software technology or with algorithms. This is how Microsoft can get away with patenting the ring buffer, a data structure used at least as early as the CDC 6000.
We currently have a situation where huge numbers of obviously invalid patents are being issued, and there is no way for the patents to be declared so without going to court. And once it comes time to go to court, sadly it tends to be a situation of the person with the most money winning.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."