Carrot or Stick? Getting Paid for Innovation at Tessera Technologies

Posted: 30 Apr 2010

Date Written: April 21, 2010


Tessera Technologies has been very successful developing technologies for the semiconductor and mobile device industry, and then licensing them broadly to manufacturers. In addition to licensing patents, it also supplies knowhow to help manufacturers move into high volume production. But the changing environment for patent enforcement, in particular the use of injunctions post eBay v. MercExchange, has brought new challenges to the company's licensing model. "Patent holdouts," companies who chose to litigate rather than license, created pressure from existing licensees. Further, as the company advanced one of its newest technology developments, a cooling technology for portable devices, it had to contend with markets where there were not strong property rights regimes. Would the company be able to get paid for its innovations, or was its model doomed?

Suggested Citation

Shih, Willy, Carrot or Stick? Getting Paid for Innovation at Tessera Technologies (April 21, 2010). HBS Case No. 610-085, Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit, Available at SSRN:

Willy Shih (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States


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