Power Engineers sometimes lack an important area of the engineering profession: Intellectual Property Education. Intellectual Property (IP) encompasses the intangible “stuff” which is what power engineering is all about — original thought, invention, and progress. The three traditional areas of IP are copyrights, trademarks, and patents. A power engineer cannot protect his or her interest and truly benefit society, whether it be an invention, expression of idea, or some other non-tangible property, without understanding these three IP areas. Power engineers are not to be blamed; IP has not been incorporated into the engineering discipline. Unfortunately, with the lack of IP instruction, power engineers may be ignorant as to the protection of their creations. This impacts their futures as they will be entering the creative field of power engineering without IP knowledge and may miss precious opportunities to benefit from their creations. Of course, this lack of IP knowledge does not help the power engineer or the progression of power engineering. This paper, written by a patent agent and patent attorney, both holding doctorate degrees in computer science and electrical engineering, respectively, will introduce the concepts of intellectual property in an easy-to-understand format. The authors will cover all three traditional areas of IP: copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Within each, specific examples will be given with respect to power engineering. With the knowledge presented, the power engineer should be able to identify the type of intellectual property needed to protect his or her works.

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