MSNBC is running a story about a possible Factory of the Future? where the product is essentially ideas, or intellectual property. The core theme in the article is a discussion of Microsoft alum Nathan Myhrvold’s new company, Intellectual Ventures, which appears to be a company of patent lawyers out to build a library of patents.
Some of these seem to be coming from brainstorming sessions with groups of scientists, others are being bought. The real question is how will they be used in the future. Given the backers he has (including the likes of Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Nokia, eBay and Google), one can only wonder about how much trouble smaller companies will be in should they attract the attention of one of these monsters.