[License-discuss] Views on React licensing?

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Mon Dec 12 22:47:32 UTC 2016

On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 4:16 PM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> wrote:

If Yoyodyne or Soylent sue MIT because they had previous exclusive patent
> licenses or contracts, that is court fun for them. It doesn't involve me.

Agreed.  I only mentioned this hypo to defend my claim that if MIT can't
keep track of what they have licensed to whom, the word "incompetent" is
fit for purpose, not in any specifically legal sense but in the sense of
not being ordinarily prudent in the management of their property.  MIT
would get a short sharp shock if they tried to sell the same piece of real
estate to two different purchasers on the grounds that proper records were
too expensive to maintain.

> [<LER>] I would tell Yoyodyne to take up their dispute with MIT. I'm not a
> party. The worldwide open source user community is not a party to some
> secret exclusive deal between Yoyodyne and MIT.

Now this I do not understand.  If Yoyodyne is the exclusive licensee, then
surely it has the right to sue/enjoin you as a user of their patented
technology, and your claim to have a subsequent license from the former
patent holder isn't going to help you, particularly if that former patent
holder disclaims it.  This follows from the fact that if Charlie writes a
program that unknowingly infringes Alice's patent and then allow Bob to use
it, Alice can take action against either Bob or Charlie.  In this case, MIT
is Charlie, and the fact that MIT originally handed over the patent to
Alice shouldn't matter: when Alice asks for one more nickel, Charlie won't
be able to get off the train.

I know that it's not typical for a patent holder to sue Bobs who merely use
a patented article that they obtain from a non-licensed manufacturer, but
that's a matter of it being economically inefficient to sue a huge list of
known and unknown customers, not a derogation of their right to do so.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Knowledge studies others / Wisdom is self-known;
Muscle masters brothers / Self-mastery is bone;
Content need never borrow / Ambition wanders blind;
Vitality cleaves to the marrow / Leaving death behind.    --Tao 33 (Bynner)
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