This illustrates one of the key reasons software (that is, algorithms) shouldn't be patentable: the field moves so fast that 20-year patent protection isn't useful.
So what's your stance on RSA, one of the early software patents, which is still used everywhere?
Frankly, R shouldn't be your first language, and probably not even your second.
R is not a general purpose programming language, even though you can write R programs. There are R programming courses (Johns Hopkins, Coursera), but you can get pretty far with using R as a statistical calculator, without ever writing a complete program (ala Octave or Matlab).