The Mac Software Business mailing list I referred to below is getting some interesting posts.

Jiva DeVoe alerted to this post on A Shareware Life (itself a very interesting site):

My company has received the following letter from a law firm claiming to have a client that has patented computer solitaire. And by extension, all computer card games.

I am not kidding.

The earliest date on any of these patents is a filing date of Dec 3, 1996 (it has some kind of amendment that says Jan 19, 1996, but whatever). Solitaire has been around for hundreds of years, and computer implementations have been around for decades. Windows Solitaire dates from around 1990. Most importantly in this case, our solitaire games were first released in 1995.

Wasn’t it Robert Heinlein who, in his Future History, mentioned “The Day They Killed All The Lawyers”? There’s more discussion about this at Dean’s World, by the way.