Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

According to the author of Preact, that's unlikely because Preact's implementation is very different (it's not just a cleanroom implementation of the same thing). However I'd be more worried that Facebook might hold patents not limited to React itself.

Considering how arbitrary software patents often are, I would think it equally as likely that they hold patents covering aspects of Angular or Vue as React. I would also think it's equally as likely that Google holds patents covering aspects of React or GraphQL.

As far as I know, unlike GraphQL, nobody has found any patents filed by Facebook that would actually cover any part of React, so right now the patent grant seems to be more of a statement of intent. But expecting you can dodge patent lawsuits by using different technology is absurd. The only way to avoid software patent lawsuits is not to own, deploy or produce software. The only winning move is not to play.

> nobody has found any patents filed by Facebook that would actually cover any part of React,

Somebody on /r/ posted this[0].

[0]: https://www.google.com/patents/US20170221242

And I responded with this (curious for informed feedback):

I just read it. I can't believe this patent was granted. If I'm reading it correctly, it's a patent for an old trick used by every OS and video game ever made. Basically, don't redraw things that aren't in view, and only redraw the bits of things that are in view.

Anyway, I can't see how this is applicable to React, as it really isn't how the v-dom works at all. The v-dom isn't about failing to draw clipped items. The v-dom is about diffing two trees and only updating changed items.

Am I totally off base here?

Welcome to a larger world. The bulk of patents in the US seem ridiculous.

Nope. Software patents are basically bullshit and I'm glad I don't live in a country where they pose a direct threat to companies.

Thank you, you made me comprehend why all software patents are nonsense.

> nobody has found any patents filed by Facebook that would actually cover any part of React

Let's suppose that the set of Facebook's patents were known. The size of that set is large enough that if someone wanted to validate the claim that Facebook has no patents on React, it would be a massive undertaking—perhaps several man years, even. Not that this really makes a difference.

Facebook has thousands of patents with their name on them. They have thousands more where Facebook's name would not appear, because they control the patents through acquisitions and cross-licensing deals, which means the size of the set of Facebook's patents on any given technology is unknowable. We're basically running into the equivalent of the halting problem as applied to the world of IP—which has always been the crux case against software patents—it doesn't matter how diligent you are, because there's always the risk of being submarined.

So I don't know where this idea comes from that Facebook has no patents covering React. I keep seeing it repeated, and yet it seems to have been derived from nothing more than the same comments I saw early in the conversation about React probably not being covered—in which case, those comments are a terrible thing to base your understanding on, because I know those were just generic, off-the-cuff, probably underinformed speculation no different from 90% of the comments in any other thread about licensing.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact