Posted by: patenttranslator | January 3, 2011

Using Google To Find Thieves Of Your Ideas

Try to Google a sentence that you wrote on your blog or something that you put on your website some time ago. If it is something that can be useful to other people as well, the chances are it has been stolen already and you may be able to find it on another blog or website. Maybe stealing is a part of the new normal today. Everybody is stealing now from everybody else if they can get away with it. If this is the new normal, I like this new normal today even less than I did yesterday.

Yesterday, for example, I Googled a sentence that I wrote more than 10 years ago when I was putting together the first version of my website with a website developer in California who lived a few houses away from me. A good web guy is somebody who listens to what you are saying and actually understands what it is that you need, and I am not talking about stock photos and “reality images” from Photoshop. It helps if you can talk to him in person.

The following sentence was on my website 10 years ago under the heading “Our Fees”:

“Pricing for our services is usually quoted by the word, but sometime at an hourly rate, depending on the nature of the assignment. Should it be your preference, we can also provide a firm price quote for your project.”

If you search for the sentence now, Google can find the exact wording on at least three websites: mine, the website of Thief No. 1, and that of Thief No. 2. Thief No. 1, who is in China, seems to have copied from me more than just one sentence. The whole concept of the service that Thief No. 1 is offering is similar to what I am doing, which is fine with me. But they also copied the graphic design of my website, including the round buttons on the left – see an archived “Internet Time Machine” version of my website 10 years ago here. They also put the same links to patent offices in different countries enabling anyone to look for patents in English, Japanese and other languages. That is fine with me too, but I had to come up with these ideas on my own and I paid Steve, my web guy in California, for the work he put into designing the site based on my description.  Thief No. 1 saved some time and money too by simply stealing the whole thing.

But the really interesting thief is Thief No. 2. If you go to their Home Page, you will see that they offer “Prior Art Search”, “Patent Illustration”, “Trial Graphics”, “Translation” and “Legal Research”, among other services. They say they have offices in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Santa Monica, New York, San Francisco, and in Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. I know the address in San Francisco, this number on Montgomery Street must be a tall office building in Financial District. I used to work there as a freelance translator, going over Japanese documents and translating parts of them on a computer terminal of a law firm that has offices there. But the telephone number listed for the office is not in San Francisco. San Francisco has the 415 area code, 650 is on the Peninsula. If they can provide so many excellent services and have offices in expensive office buildings in so many cities, how come they had to steal what I wrote on my website? Don’t they have people smart enough to write their own marketing material? I guess not. You have to save money somewhere.

The world after Google (WAG) is different from the world before Google (WBG). The bigger fish are still trying to swallow the smaller fish, that will never change. But in the WAG, the world has become a fairly small digital fishbowl and we are all swimming in it. In the WAG, you can actually watch the show in progress using search engines, Google Analytics, and the like. It can be much more entertaining to watch the show in the small digital fishbowl called world on the Internet than watching what you have on your 200 or so TV cable programs, most of which are so awful that you will never watch them, although they will still make you pay for all of them anyway.


  1. […] Some people in China, for example, simply copied the design and some of the content of my website. They simply stole it and put it on their own website as I wrote in this post more than 3 years ago …. and then they sent me an e-mail later requesting a price quote for translating patents for […]


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