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This is one of the reasons companies seek patents, called a defensive patent strategy. The goal is to discourage competitors from suing you for patent violations by making sure you own a patent your competitors are likely to have violated. It creates a kind of "mutually assured destruction" that discourages either party from launching a patent war (this only works against real competitors, not against patent trolls, but it can still be a viable part of a company's IP strategy).

In the case you describe, what it boils down to is yeah, if your business intends to sue Facebook for patent infringement, you probably shouldn't be dependent on any of Facebook's IP or patents for your business. There are lots of things companies do to discourage other companies from suing them. Giving out free software is one of the nicer ways a company can choose to go about it.




Let's say I have a patent for a technology outside of React, and even outside of software, such as some hardware patent. Why should me suing for infringement of that patent preclude me from using React when it (the patent infringement and React) are completely independent?


Because facebook wants to avoid getting sued. React is their bat and ball so they set the rules. If you don't like the rules go and play elsewhere - it is not like there aren't hundreds of other frameworks you can use.


Because facebook said so in their README. Demands don't need to make sense but they need to be observed (whether that means respecting the demands or avoiding the people, the companies and the products that make such demands and thus not being affected in the first place).


Given that the trade seems pretty apparent, at least to me. "You can use our thing here for free but in exchange we might want to use one of your things later also for free", I have to ask why you don't think not agreeing to the latter half of the deal shouldn't preclude you from the former? I mean, that's how deals work.


Because you agreed to use the software facebook architected, developed, tested and publicly made available for you for free, in exchange for letting them use ideas you developed and publicly described for free.




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