As innovators, engineers created the technological know-how that goes into the development of modern services and products. The law calls this know-how "intellectual property." The importance of intellectual property rights was recognized by the framers of our Constitution in Article 1, Section 8 which empowers Congress to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by giving authors and inventors exclusive rights to the writing and discoveries. These intellectual property rights are very important to engineers. Although intellectual property is not tangible, ownership of it nevertheless carries with it many of the rights and obligations of ownership of tangible property. Examples of intellectual property often owned by engineers include patents, trade secrets, and copyrights.
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