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“Get Rich, or Die Trying”: Lessons from Rambus' High-Risk Predatory Litigation in the Semiconductor Industry


  • Richard Tansey
  • Mark Neal
  • Ray Carroll


Patent litigation is a visible and widespread feature of the semiconductor industry, as firms pursue judicial mechanisms to defend, or promote, their intellectual property portfolios. This study highlights the antecedents, strategic goals, tactics and outcomes of the most significant US trial of this type in the last decade, namely Rambus v. Infineon, whereby a smaller company (Rambus) successfully pursued a “do or die” litigation campaign against a larger rival, thus changing the rules of engagement for the semiconductor industry as a whole. This campaign is notable, not just because of its undoubted effects on the semiconductor industry, but because of the innovative nature of Rambus' strategy, which was extremely risky both in terms of its prospects of success and its potential damage to the company if it failed. Arguing that dominant logic and operating rules are important antecedents in the development and pursuit of patent litigation strategies, this paper analyses the Rambus case using a “dominant logic” and “effectuation” framework. Doing so demonstrates the innovative nature of Rambus' “high-risk predatory strategy”, the outcome of a dominant logic sustained by effectuation principles. The paper discusses the impact and significance of this new strategic form.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Tansey & Mark Neal & Ray Carroll, 2005. "“Get Rich, or Die Trying”: Lessons from Rambus' High-Risk Predatory Litigation in the Semiconductor Industry," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 93-115.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:12:y:2005:i:1:p:93-115
    DOI: 10.1080/1366271042000339076

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