"require" or "authorize"

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Joe

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Some observers said Microsoft's only recourse is to threaten lawsuits because
copyright and trademark laws require companies to do everything within their
legal rights to defend their trademarks and trade secrets.

In Collins COBUILD, I see "if a law requires you to do something, you have to
do it". According to this explanation, "require" does not seem to fit the
sentence here. It seems to me that "...laws require companies to do something"
suggest that "laws force companies to do something". But "defend their
trademarks and trade secrets" is companies' own business--they can choose to
defend or not, how come a law "require" them to do so? Do you think "authorize"
is a better word to replace "require" here?

I know my question may be weird. The sentence is written by a native speaker.
As an ESL learner, I don't dare say "it's wrong". I just want to fully
understand "require" here and learn this new usage of "require".
Sorry, my question seems too long.
Thank you very much.
 

RonBee

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If Microsoft does not defend its trademarks and trade secrets it will lose them. It is in that sense that it is required to defend them. It is not legally obligated to do so. You cannot substitute authorize for require in this case. (To authorize something and to require it are two different things.)

:)
 

Joe

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RonBee said:
You cannot substitute authorize for require in this case. (To authorize something and to require it are two different things.)

Thanks, that was a quick respond. But I think "authorize" works fine in this sentence, although it does not mean the same thing as "require". You don't think so, do you?
 

RonBee

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Joe said:
RonBee said:
You cannot substitute authorize for require in this case. (To authorize something and to require it are two different things.)

Thanks, that was a quick respond. But I think "authorize" works fine in this sentence, although it does not mean the same thing as "require". You don't think so, do you?

No, I don't. To authorize something is to give someone permission to do it. I don't think Microsoft would be giving itself permission.

:)
 

Tdol

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A law 'authorises' if it allows and 'requires' if it obliges. ;-)
 

RonBee

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tdol said:
A law 'authorises' if it allows and 'requires' if it obliges. ;-)

Exactly!

:wink:
 

MikeNewYork

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Joe said:
RonBee said:
You cannot substitute authorize for require in this case. (To authorize something and to require it are two different things.)

Thanks, that was a quick respond. But I think "authorize" works fine in this sentence, although it does not mean the same thing as "require". You don't think so, do you?

I agree with Ron. In this case the law requires the company to defend its rights if it wants to retain those rights. If a company allows others to infringe on its rights without taking action, the courts will no longer recognize those rights.
 

Joe

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Thanks, Teachers.
I'd like to ask something about the sentence structure. Which of the following
is the same as the original one?
1). The laws require that companies do everything within their legal rights to
defend their trademarks and trade secrets
.( companies are defenders)
2). The laws require companies to do everything within their legal rights, so
that
the law can defend their trademarks and trade secrets. (The law is the
defender
)
And, without any context, can I just say," The law authorizes companies to
defend their rights"?

I'm sorry for asking so much.
:)
 

RonBee

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Joe said:
Thanks, Teachers.
I'd like to ask something about the sentence structure. Which of the following
is the same as the original one?
1). The laws require that companies do everything within their legal rights to
defend their trademarks and trade secrets
.( companies are defenders)
2). The laws require companies to do everything within their legal rights, so
that
the law can defend their trademarks and trade secrets. (The law is the
defender
)
And, without any context, can I just say," The law authorizes companies to defend their rights"?
I'm sorry for asking so much.
:)

To the first question: no, not exactly. If the law requires you to do something that means you are obligated to do it. Microsoft is required to defend its trademark only if it wants to protect it.

To the second question: again, they are not legally obligated to do anything. Also, that sentence is rather awkward, and it is inaccurate.

To the third question: yes, that would be a true statement.

:)

~RonBee
 
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