We are going to change the title of this site because of a trademark request from Penton Media on the words "electronic design."

We do not believe we are in violation of their trademark, but we have been considering a more appropriate title for this site since robotics was removed from the title.

We're planning on using the title 'Electrical Engineering'. Everything else, including the URL, will remain the same. This is change in title only.


  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Shame I liked ED put a smile on my face when I loaded the page xD \$\endgroup\$ – Dean May 10 '11 at 19:27
  • 17
    \$\begingroup\$ Seriously? Someone has a trademark on the words "Electronic Design"? What a strange time to be alive... \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer May 10 '11 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dean - That makes me cringe. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer May 10 '11 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @reemrevnivek sorry i can be immature :L \$\endgroup\$ – Dean May 10 '11 at 20:18
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ "Electronic design" can't possibly be trademarkable, can it? And if it can, how is "electrical engineering" any better? \$\endgroup\$ – endolith May 10 '11 at 21:14
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, it is not that it is a valid trademark, but prat of having a trademark requires you defend it. This means they must prosecute what might be a violation. So, SO either covers the cost of defense, or they just change the name. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 11 '11 at 4:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk But it's not a trademark! It's just words! You can't trademark "electronics engineering". \$\endgroup\$ – endolith May 11 '11 at 13:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Apparently Penton Media is a publisher, and "Electronic Design" is the title for one of their magazines. (Reference Page) Must not be very popular, if none of us had heard of it... I really think such generic, broad words should not be subject to copyright. \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton May 13 '11 at 16:22
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith Please refrain from using "It's just words!" because I have now copyrighted that phrase. :P \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton May 13 '11 at 16:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I used to get it. It's probably the second most common one for EEs to get after EE Times. Or at least it was when people got paper magazines. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Carlton May 15 '11 at 3:59

Having "Engineering" in the title gives a more professional feel to the site, which is welcome.

However, I think the site is currently more focused on Electronics Engineering, as opposed to Electrical Engineering. The general public might not care, but I think that many visitors to the site will be aware of the distinction.

Electrical Engineering has two possible meanings. Sometimes, it refers to any part of engineering which deals with electricity, regardless of the power level. However, it can also denote engineers who are primarily concerned with power systems: High voltage/current, generators, motors, and the like. This is the definition that is used in the IEEE acronym, which stands for "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers". We've always been more focused on electronics than power systems, so the former definition is more accurate.

Electronics Engineering always (AFAIK) refers to the design of lower power electronics like computers and embedded systems.

In my personal education at a state university in the USA, I'm a computer engineering major. To my school, this is the equivalent of an electronics engineering degree, but it does dabble a little bit in software engineering. In my opinion, this site is about computer engineering, but other computer engineering degrees focus more on software, which further confuses the issue.

I think that (high-power) electrical, electronics, and computer engineers could coexist quite happily on a single Stack Exchange site. However, it should not be assumed that Electrical Engineering is the same as Electronics Design. I'm not protesting the new name (at least not as loudly as I protested "Electronics"), I'm just trying to bring this to your attention so we can add a note about the definition of "Electrical Engineering" which we're using to the FAQ.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ My degree is in Computer Engineering, which included a lot of coursework in Electrical Engineering. I recall a lot of classes in power systems, antenna theory, and radar systems; None of which seems to be the focus of this site. Perhaps electronics is a a better word to keep. Still listening. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Cartaino May 10 '11 at 20:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @reemrevnivek, I agree, I would like to see more things like RF have a home here. We have had a few questions in that respect, I hope it continues. Second, I do not consider electrical engineers to just be high power. I consider electrical engineers to be everything from controls, to solid state to RF. I would consider electronics engineering to be a bridge between computer engineering and electrical engineering. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 11 '11 at 4:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @reemrevnivek, Electrical and Electronics Engineering would be nice, but I would 100% support Electronics Engineering. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 11 '11 at 4:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I find it interesting who cares about the difference between being called Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Usually it's the "Electronics" people - they wouldn't be caught dead doing "Electrical" engineering since they consider it below them. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO May 11 '11 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO My degree's in "electrical engineering" but I've started calling it "electronics engineering" because it feels more accurate. I don't think designing stuff like this is "beneath me", it's just not the field I've concentrated in. \$\endgroup\$ – endolith May 13 '11 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO, I have actually spent most my time in embedded systems. But I think electrical engineer encompasses some of the other things people do not as often remember like RF engineer. Photonics would be another area I consider part of EE. So I just consider it more broad, I have never met someone whom had a job title of electrical Engineer. I am an electronics systems engineer. My friends whom do power distribution are Distribution Engineers. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 14 '11 at 5:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Agree it should be expanded to Electrical and Computer Engineering \$\endgroup\$ – vicatcu May 15 '11 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is called "Embedded Systems" at my school; this name distinguishes it from any other fields of Electrical Engineering. \$\endgroup\$ – rwong Aug 17 '11 at 8:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rwong - Five "Embedded Systems" courses are at the core of my Computer Engineering degree program. We're certainly all about embedded systems here, but I think we want to be just a little more broad than that. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Aug 17 '11 at 17:52

Please consider the other proposed names, like Chiphacker or Short Circuit.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, these guys have a trademark on Short Circuits for chewing gum. It's been recalled, though, because the Pakistani manufacturers somehow let too much lead into the candy. Perhaps they should come here and learn about ROHS? \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer May 10 '11 at 21:32
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ are trademarks that universal? i don't see how anyone could confuse a website and a chewing gum. \$\endgroup\$ – JustJeff May 11 '11 at 0:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, @robert. I think the chiphacker name would be a nice one, although I think we have been getting more professional engineers since our change to the new names. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 11 '11 at 4:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @justjeff, there is just a very good chance we will have to defend ourselves in court, as trademarks require that the holder protects them. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 11 '11 at 6:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ If "Electronic Design" brought the copyright trolls to the site... you can damn sure bet TriStar or CBS or Dimension Films or whoever owns rights to the 1986 movie, Short Circuit, will show up at the door if we adopted that name. \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton May 13 '11 at 16:27
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Have the gum people sued the movie people or vice versa? It's only trademark infringement if the products can be confused with each other. Gum can't be confused with a question and answer website. Also "the more descriptive and generic the mark, the less protection courts will provide to these marks. For example, the mark KODAK will receive more protection than a similar product that uses the mark FAST PHOTO." \$\endgroup\$ – endolith May 13 '11 at 18:09

Just change the site name to Electronics Design - pluralizing "Electronic." Then it's not the same name as the trademarked magazine title, but it still works for our purposes. To me, "Electrical..." means power distribution systems, building wiring, and other higher-energy systems.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ ...and if Penton still has a problem with it, someone should inform them that they're spending too much time focusing on their bottom line and contributing to the copyright troll epidemic, and not enough time hiring competent, creative marketing people such that they can establish a less generic name for their publication. \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton May 13 '11 at 16:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ they do not have an option, if you do not defend a trademark then you lose it. Everyone could start printing things like EDN if they do not carry through. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 15 '11 at 11:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Pluralizing a word would be unlikely to solve the trademark problem. The patent office considers "the similarity of the marks and the commercial relationship between the goods and/or services listed in the application." They don't need to be letter-for-letter equal to have a violation. Regardless, I'd rather have Stack Exchange spend time and money improving the site with new features than hiring lawyers to fight for some name or another. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer May 17 '11 at 21:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .