Lawyer: "this thing, this point in the contract, it's VERY VERY important". The more lawyers you get in the room, the more beard pulling, wailing and hand wringing there would be about the dire, dire consequences of taking this stupid clause out. And of course the world would come to an end if no-one listened to lawyers.
After I fucked several business deals listening to lawyers say how contracts should be changed, I decided to make my own decisions about what matters and what doesn't in a contract.
The real problem for ReactJS is that someone at facebook is listening to the lawyers wring their hands about some possible future that will never happen. facebook should just grow up and tell its lawyers to shut up and go back to doing.... whetever it is they do.
Facebook has been subject to numerous patent litigations and is very likely to be involved in future patent litigations. Maintaining a defensive patent portfolio is an important part of preparing for such litigations, so Facebook's lawyers certainly aren't idly protecting their patents.
It does get them leverage against legitimate patent holders. There have been reports of companies having to pay in some roundabout unspecified way royalties to FB for React as part of a large patent licensing deal.
I'm somewhat skeptical of these reports, but if there is direct revenue to FB from this clause it would be the Occam's Razor explanation for their intransigence.
> There have been reports of companies having to pay in some roundabout unspecified way royalties to FB for React as part of a large patent licensing deal.
If you can provide any direct evidence of that, I'd be fascinated. I highly suspect it's FUD.
This "adds risk" argument is very familiar from other FUD campaigns (e.g. Microsoft's) against open source in general. It's pretty weird to see people who claim to believe in open source pushing arguments that work against most open source.
Facebook | Your Company | Outcome
Grants patents conditionally | Does not sue Facebook | Things hum along nicely
Grants patents conditionally | Sues Facebook | You're liable for patent infringement
Doesn't grant patents | Does not sue Facebook | You're liable for patent infringement
Doesn't grant patents | Sues Facebook | You're liable for patent infringement
These are the sorts of important sounding things that the lawyers are saying and frightening everyone into thinking just how incredibly important this issue is, how much is at stake.