GraphQL and Facebook


And about patent again: Using GraphQL? Why Facebook Now Owns You

But if I owned GraphCool (:heart:️ you guys!) or another GraphQL as a service or a GraphQL server implementation (Apollo Server, Sangria, etc), these patents would shake me to the core as a potential contributory infringer. (I’d love to hear from GraphCool or MDG counsels on this issue)


Please check this.


I see. No problem (-:


This post brings up an interesting point about server based implementations of the GraphQL spec - like Meteor’s. I’d be interested in MDG’s official response to it.

Like it or not, patents and licensing are part of our craft.


Of the 10M+ react or graphql projects in the world, how many can you list that have had their patents taken over by facebook?

Folks will worry about facebook’s clause but not buy a lottery ticket becuase they feel the odds are way too low. Go figure.

The fact is you have better chances of winning powerball than you do of facebook stealing your company because you used their javascript library.

Also, writing down a legal clause in a github repo, and having a judge actually rule in your favor (you being facebook), are two different things. I doubt any judge is going to hand your biotechnology patent library over to facebook becuase you used react to build your login form, or you made an HTTP request with graphql.

If facebook ever did sue you, airbnb and walmart would probably pay your legal fees to make sure the final decsion destroyed precedence for facebooks stupid little clause.


Patent lawsuits rarely go to completely. It’s almost always cheaper to settle - but for a startup or smaller company the legal fees can be daunting.

I don’t actually think Facebook intends to sue everyone who implements a GraphQL server, but it IS legally ambiguous, and it does deserve some clarification from Facebook. Either it’s not a big deal (a simple statement to that effect from MDG would be enough for me), or since Facebook hasn’t said anything one way or the other on it, I guess it’ll take some prompting from some higher profile partners (and MDG’s Apollo project is pretty high profile) to get Facebook to make a statement on spec implementors’ patent situation.


@captainn Did you see this recent response from fb about the license with reference to Apache?


Since Facebook couldn’t convince ASF about these patents, I think we still have to rethink using Facebook tools until a proper and convincing explanation is given, and this includes other Facebook OS tools and source codes released to the Apache Software Foundation.


Yes, and I understand and even accept that as it relates to the React patent clause. The issue with Apollo (server) is that there is no patent grant at all - suing Facebook or not…


There’s a whole web of unrelated issues that get tangled into the same analysis. Let me try to disambiguate.

  1. Legal implications of Facebook’s OSS licenses
  2. Wisdom of Facebook’s OSS licenses
  3. Legal implications of Facebook’s GraphQL spec
  4. Apache’s decision and motives

All four of those are fairly distinct with little interplay. My take is…

  1. Not an issue. And acceptable morally. “If you use our free stuff, don’t sue us” Reasonable.
  2. Not sensible. It won’t prevent any suits, but will create a lot of needless angst and questions.
  3. Potentially big issue. They need to fix this asap.
  4. More about politics than logic.

I’ve been a big MDG fan and Meteor community lover for a long time. If I can answer any questions, that’d be great!