Stross, Charles. 'Lobsters'

Charles Stross, "Lobsters" (2003). (Later expanded into Accelerando). A sort of "bursting with ideas" piece of comic economic science fiction, partly to do with the legal rights of AIs (who are also sort of lobsters). Also, it's about consent and contract. (One quibble: I'm pretty sure in Europe Manfred wouldn't need to patent his ideas and give them away: it would be sufficient to publicize them so they form part of the prior art. By being a science fiction writer and a blogger, for instance. In the US, the approach is a bit closer to "let's all just patent the shit out of everything and let lawyers sort it out." I think. Sounds a bit like a stereotype).