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July 31, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Full Interview of Inventor Anne Brewer Discussing Journey To Getting A Patent & Expanding Wallabox

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00:00

It's my absolute pleasure to introduce Anne Brewer. She's an inventor. She's an entrepreneur. She's a military spouse. As you heard, she's from Virginia Beach. She's created this unbelievable product, the wall box. And it's a device that keeps your you know, it's perfect. It keeps your mobile phone safe. I could there it is. I can tell you guys about it and of course can tell you about it. But I think the best thing is, you've got to see it in action. So let me share my screen and turn up your volume and you'll be able to hear about the wallet box directly

00:35
introducing the most innovative and durable mobile phone holder on the market while a box now you can safely store and charge your phone anywhere. Removable double sided tape sticks to most surfaces and won't damage them. Keep your family safe. Wherever there is clutter mess or it's not safe to put your phone down while box is there to conveniently keep your phone handy. It works great on speaker and doesn't cost a lot of doubt. That's a great spot

01:10
once someone sees the safety and convenience of the wallet box, don't want one for themselves. The OtterBox allows you to charge your phone while keeping your desk free from clutter. You can easily see when you get a new text you can use the wallbox anywhere you want to save convenient place to keep your phone handy. phones cost too much to let them get water damage or glass breakage from accidental drops and spills. Just peel and stick on your wall so your phone won't fall

01:47
buddy, I got your text message. Oh my god. That's awesome. I'm not talking about this. We're talking about that. Very cool. One more hold you down one

02:20
we're gonna go, we're gonna go back

02:29
your mobile life protected.

02:33
I love hearing the stories of what initially triggered somebody to even think about a product like this. So why don't you go into that? And tell us a little bit about what started it all?

02:46
Well, most girls carry our phones in our back pocket. And I was at a concert went into the Porta John in my phone fell out of my pocket to the floor. Lucky didn't fall in. But I was like, Whoa, that's all my pictures and my contacts. And that just kind of opened my eyes that I started doing research right away. Even at that concert looking around all the girls with phones in their back pockets. I really started to notice even guys with their wallet in one pocket and their phone and the other. And I just started calling plumbers I called the porter John company asking what do you do phones fall in, they say we don't go back and get them. They're gone forever. Plumbers are like a $300 to repair toilet have to pull the whole thing up to get the phone out. And just everywhere. I just all those stores I was looking. And grocery stores, movie theaters, nowhere for us to put our phones and you are like a

03:49
lot of inventors. You didn't set out to say hey, let me invent a product. If you found it somewhere, you would just have bought it. And that would have been the end of this. Right?

03:59
That's right. I just I could not believe I just said this is something I literally after three days, I started just using my daughter, you know in her shorts, and I was drawing on a napkin and pieces of paper and measuring. It just got one a little bit larger tablets. I'm not worried about those. These are just phones that we carry. You know, there's 911 Yeah, now there's people shooting videos. And I mean, it's just gotten the phones have gotten more intense. over the five years I've been doing this. This was back with like flip phones. It wasn't even. They weren't that expensive. So

04:36
Right. But even still, I mean $300 Is it sounds like an awful lot to get your phone back. And who knows if it's even going to work

04:45
nowadays with the iPhones, I mean, it's not so when I just I quickly Drew, you know, just a square you know, like the shape of the phone and just said don't need it big enough. Some girls have bleaching big cases. And big enough to fit is one inch deep. Four inches across six inches high, about the size of one of your larger unit index card. And it just, they each come with the removable, three M command strips. And just they're in less of where you can put them. As you saw the video, even a golf cart, there's boats, deer stands, your office, your car, you know, they can go anywhere.

05:32
Yeah, wow. And I love the absolutely love the simplicity of it. And as a patent attorney, I'm always getting questions from inventors like, is my idea complicated enough? And is it I think it's too simple. People forget that the the coffee cups sleeve that goes over a cup of coffee is you know, the inventor, Jay Sorensen made $20 million in licensing fees off that idea. So there is no it has to be complicated requirement to get a patent. It has to solve a real problem that people have it has to be unique, novel and non obvious. And, and I understand you have it show us your patent if you have Is there, like

06:15
at all. But anyway, I hope you can see this is

06:17
Yep, well, we everyone can you find, I don't know what happened with on our end. But um,

06:24
this was many, many years in the making. And I just if your audience out there is not seeing a patent it comes, you know, second, a big, many pages to it. But it's fun to see the drawing of the whole wall of oxyr described. And each page kind of shows what your Pat, you know, I guess you can explain this more than me, front and back. And then we even have in my pattern. This with a with a cup holder. Oh, stadium seat, you know, they always have the cup holder, but they don't have a phone holder.

07:03
Got it. So that's one of them is

07:08
I guess you call them your claims that can be made in different materials. And it can be stuck on with Velcro or magnets. Got all the details. So this is many, many years in the making.

07:21
That's it. The beauty of a patent is that you can describe your idea. And it's in drawings and text. And you can describe it much broader than how you actually ended up using it. So your rights are much much broader than the wallbox itself. So if a competitor tries infringing, like, for example, the cupholder version, it's still your property, you still own that, whether you decide to launch that or if you have I'm not sure but either way you don't have to that's the beauty of filing the patent is you can protect basically the idea so it's in your, in your whatever's in your mind, you get that on paper, they don't ask for prototypes or working models. They do ask for drawings and you saw several drawings front side, left side view, right side view, one perspective view so that somebody can get an idea of how it works. But you said it was a battle tell us a little bit about that. It's it's it wasn't it's not like you filed for the patent and four weeks later you got it. That's how it went.

08:25
First of all, you're gonna need way more money than you ever thought you ever needed. Because this just goes and goes and goes. And I guess your first thing is to follow your provision patent. As soon as you get your idea as soon as I came up with this in like August by September, we filed a provisional patent and you keep that for a year and it gives you a year to really justify Should I keep going on with this and a lot of people are worried about protecting their idea. I was having samples made they were handmade in a plastic factory in Georgia, they were glued together. And I was selling out of them at video.

09:09
October you're not even you're not even in Georgia. So you were able to find this manufacturer they're going on

09:15
I think it was thomasnet.com Thomasnet and they have all these manufacturers I just said to have an idea on the napkin. Can I send it to you and just you can and he cut out his plastic and put the front pocket on and had his back this was solid piece and we just had stickers made it said patent pending. And we had the original name was called potty pocket because of course in the

09:50
portal it right the

09:53
and then I started really thinking these round toilet paper holders holding our square foot assumes that everything was really targeting the bathrooms. And then we became Tosh, I need this in the bedroom and I needed a different name pocket pals. And then once we really found after that year of your provisional patent, we went for it dove in and file for the original, you know, the full patent. And that took another year and a half. So you're already in two and a half years, you're still selling your idea, you know, trying to you're making your money or you're hitting each market that you think that you, you know, that you should go

10:36
into. And that's one thing a lot of inventors don't realize that. You know, for example, I have other attorneys that are friends of mine that do FDA approval work for medical devices. Now, if you're waiting for FDA approval, you can't do anything with your medical device, you can't sell it, you can't market it, you can't, you're basically stuck. The beauty of the patent system is that during this entire year and a half, you're not being held back, right, you're able to start marketing,

11:06
I'm still selling I've at this point, I've joined an incubator, through the university, I walked in and just said, Hey, I'm just a local, I'm not a student, of course. But I have this idea. And they took me into a room and said, Oh, my goodness, you need an attorney, you need a lawyer, you're gonna need to get I mean, they were immediately helped me for the year telling me where to go what to do. And I advise that they also hook you up with business mentors, people that are way more experienced, I'm just military spouse, been home raising three kids, you know, came up with this idea. And they they guided me just go this direction do this. And after a year and a half of that. So it was probably two and a half, almost three years into the whole phone holder business that I was like creating, we got our patent. But it wasn't exactly what we wanted the the person that did it, he kind of added a lid, he added some other things to the product that we didn't ask for. We kind of sat on it for six months and just said what should we do? And the attorney just said, let's go back in, we want to get well we asked for a box on a wall where you could put a charging, you know, can charge. And let's go for what we asked for originally.

12:36
Oh, so I didn't sorry. I didn't catch that. So that feature, the bottom is open. So it doesn't have to act. If you have a plug like underneath you can be charging the entire time.

12:45
Yeah, so maybe in that video, you saw the little girl beside her bed, she had a charging cord coming out the bottom and also the girl at the desk. You know, you can charge it, put it in it. And you can get your text you can still talk you know, it's this is the biggest now our biggest thing as we've learned is that people are falling asleep with their phone. While it's like charging under their pillow, and this can catch fire. So that's what started our whole new we're really targeting colleges and college dorm rooms. There's been some incidents and kit in a lot of the kids bedrooms, it's all over. Just Google, you know, phone catching fire.

13:24
So I remember reading something about that sleeping with your phone under your pillow. It's someone said it's akin to leaving your stove on?

13:33
Yes. So it this gets hot. So this was the air. So now that we have this open back and these holes, you know this down here, it is very open so you can charge your phone safely beside the bed. And that's who we're now you know, I've been in every direction there is bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, I mean everywhere. But that is pretty scary when that started coming out.

14:03
Well, so one of the things that I want to go back a little bit back to the beginning stages, because sometimes what happens within inventor is they realize a problem, but they're worried that it's just them. You know, it's like hey, maybe I'm just paranoid or I'm anal or I'm just such a unique snowflake that I'm the only person that has this issue. At which point did you realize that you know what, this is not just me This is widespread.

14:32
As soon as I started telling friends and I know some people are afraid I don't want to share my ideas gonna get stolen. Soon as you file is called first to file your provisional patent you have a year and I did that within weeks of inventing this and getting samples made and I ordered 1000 samples from the little factory in Georgia. We had stickers made that had the word either party pocket or pocket pals. That was the name, the original name. And we had patent pending. So we just started going to little vendor shows and had a big spinner rack and had all the little colors purples and greens and blacks and grays. People were buying 567 at a time. Wow. And they the most I've sold to a couple of different people, but it is a complete,

15:21
this was your it's about your friends and family. This is like complete

15:26
strangers at you know, little vendor shows Christmas shows. And I would just stand you know, and show the idea and say, Hey, your phone, and they are still using those original ones, I'll bump into people or they'll send me a quick text pictures. And this is still on our boat. This is still in our car, they had them three years, four years, five years. And people they would buy the most of soul is 10 at a time, they would walk out with their arms, they'd have every color, and every design and just they would buy 10 at a time. And they're going to put them in all their cars, give them all the kids bedrooms. And you can easily have 10 in your house, we must have 10 in our house, at least, then you have your phone everywhere you go. And then you just have your little routine of okay, it's in the kitchen or beside the bed or in the bathroom. You just know. So that's how I knew I just kept like, wow, these people. So then that's when I said I've got to get more made, like larger volume than this little factory could do. So we had a mold made and that's a big decision. And had a made in China. So now this is the you know, the the whole version of what the injected mold. And we ordered 5000 And by then I met a distributor. And they bought all I had because they were selling them in there all the different channels of distribution however they were selling them. And I was like oh my goodness. And as a military spouse and of course USA. Big in my heart. We now we brought them over from China. It's now back in Georgia, at a plastics manufacturer and these are now made in USA.

17:11
Okay, well, amazing. And that one's black. But you say you you have them in multiple colors. Yes.

17:17
So here's why. Because a lot of the wall everyone's walls are white. Right? Gray and we have a hot pink. That's just fun for the kids rooms.

17:28
And have you are you getting sales in do you think it's used in college dorms? And

17:32
yes, we just shipped 2000 black and gray to a collegiate distribution. They serve as 900 colleges. So we kind of do a little test order. And they're selling through their channels of you know, distributions. We're in some cat we've been in catalogs. So not really just because it's just me I have bootstrapped this whole thing. And I couldn't have done it without my family. My husband my poor, retired Marine. That's, you know, but we're, you know, it's it's exciting. It's fun to say, you know, here for me to see, I don't know if you can see, but there's a little logo embossed.

18:15
Oh, yeah, no, perfect. Hold it right up to the camera, and then we cannot see. Oh, yeah, we see it. We see it. So it's, it's not just it's not a sticker anymore.

18:26
No, actually, it's I mean, it is embossed in there, which I love. And then now we're having them, put the patent number and then made in USA in here. So we don't have to put this sticker actually have, they're actually going into the mold and going to put the patent number and the main USA.

18:50
So did the patent examiner and I know this is going back and maybe it's too technical. Did the patent examiner initially reject the patent? And you had to argue back and forth with them? You

19:01
did now the first one I don't believe but I think this one we did because we were it's very broad. Right? That's what I mean when my attorney he was like doing cartwheels when he got this and he was like a and do you understand you own a box on a wall with a hole in the bottom row. This is so broad and so huge. And it's been worth the five years that you know, it took us but it came back we had to redo the drawings. resend it and resubmit. Put some more of the addendums or whatever into that and the examiner we just kept going back and forth. And finally when it was issued, I we were just doing cartwheels we couldn't believe it.

19:49
So it's you know, it's a lot of times it's a battle between the examiner and the patent attorney because I've had cases where the examiners are kind of cool close minded. And they just because an idea is simple does not mean it's obvious. And the examiner may look at it. And just like you said, you, you know, described it as a box on the wall, the examiner might be like, Hey, I'm not gonna give somebody a patent on a box on a wall. But he doesn't have that discretion. If it's unique. If it's new, if no one's done it before, then, you know, then a good patent attorney will push back and say, Hey, listen, I don't care what your judgment is, you have to find patents to reject me, you can't just base it on your own common sense, or what you think is really not that important. If you think this is already done, and it's not a new idea, then find me the patent was somebody else has it. So I'm glad that's that's a phenomenal Indian tear, your patent battle is to have it have it granted.

20:53
Yeah. So now that we've got this baby, we've got the mold that took me almost a year to get it out of China. And fingers crossed, I took a big leap of faith that the mold would work in, in the US on our machines here, and just was so thankful we got it, you know, we got it over here. And now that we're kind of getting all those bells and whistles done, and we're gonna start, we can start sending some cease and desist letters. There's two or three little companies out there, which are not that wet, you know who it depends on you takes a lot of money to sue and get people, it's a big world out there. And it's plenty of room for everyone to

21:37
use, you've got first of all your first a market. So you've got name recognition, you've got distribution employees. But the nice thing now is a lot of the sales, if they're online through Amazon or eBay, you don't have to yourself go out and start suing a bunch of competitors. Because you simply notify Amazon through their administrative proceedings, and they help stop competing products, you have to prove you have a patent, you have to prove you have intellectual property rights. But that that's made it easier today to do but you know, it's it's wonderful to hear this. For our inventors out there. What was hurdle, that that something that you think you did the hard way that if you had to go through this, again, you would do differently,

22:26
you need to go with your own gut. I love all my business mentors that I have, and just they'll guide you and it's time to go big or go home. This is such a huge idea. They need to be on every seat back in a stadium because they're begging us to bring our phones for all the social media, they can keep up with the Wi Fi in the stadiums. And if kids college kids, they don't have Wi Fi they're out. There's just a cup holder on the seat and you're putting your square foot and that's where your beer your Coca Cola, you know, so I for a year, we did nothing but try to sell into stadiums. And that started to become a huge sponsorship issue. And that's way out of our league. And so we did nothing for a year, no sales and it was like okay, stop halt. And going back where I know back to the consumer. This was a whole different that was a beast if we had Gatorade sponsors to put 50,000 of these then all sudden Gatorade pulled out they were like well how are you going to get these out? How you gonna? You know, it was just it was a nightmare. So I'm super excited and right at that time, a woman who said gosh, I love your idea but you're I'm a Brain she's a branding genius I would call her she is a brand she rebranded us to wallbox with you know the wall will be the colors the black green gold. The Wallaby has the pouch that carries this precious asset like your phone.

24:05
You have you have trademarks also on Yes,

24:08
so we and that took six to eight months to get the trademark on wall box and your mobile life protected is our tagline and that is also trademarked.

24:22
Oh, I love that. So Jenny, if your is our moderator, she's on here. Do you have Is there a website where anyone interested in buying or finding out more about your story or anything that they can go to and Jenny we'll put that in the chat box?

24:38
Yes, that's www.my Wallah. box.com

24:45
Okay, terrific. I see that just went up in the chat box and we're going to have for anyone that may be joined late or or had to leave early we're going to be this entire interview is going to is live on our on our Facebook page. We have a mastermind called the Veterans mastermind, where I believe there's close to 2000 inventors that in vendors helping inventors, I'm the moderator. So I kind of watch and every once in a while, I'll see some advice that's way off base. And I'll bounce it. And I'll say, no, wait a minute, you can't, that's not true anymore. One example is this concept of the poor man's patent, where there's a myth out there that's just not dying, that you can put your idea, you can write up your idea on a sheet of paper, put it in an envelope, and mail the envelope to yourself. And that's somehow going to give you some protection. Now, you mentioned first a file, and that was a big change in 2013. So now that the law is first a file, that doesn't do anything for you, so mailing your idea to yourself in an envelope is not going to protect you and I still in my mastermind, and I see Jenny's posted the URL for the mastermind in the chat box as well. I still see somebody saying, well, listen, why don't you start by nailing your idea to yourself? And that's what I have to bounce in and say, no, no, no, that's not that's not doing anything. So anyone that's interested, if you have more questions, feel free to go to the inventors mastermind. Go to ans website as well, that's in the chat box. And we can go there any and I promise these days, because of this pandemic, everybody is zoomed out. So I make a promise to my viewers that we're going to keep this call to a half hour, we're almost out of time, but is there any parting advice you want to leave for an inventor with a new idea, like something you wish somebody would have told you, when you started,

26:42
definitely hire a good attorney, don't try to do it yourself. I do know. But that's hard for me to say probably half and half a lot of people file their own provisional patent for like $500 or whatever it may cause then they'll go on and try to do their patent or you're gonna get what you pay for, I believe in the professionals doing their job, you know, on you know, we're the idea people I love being out in front of people and selling and promoting products, you know, promoting so I don't want all the legal jumbo Mumbo, but that's my biggest thing was trying to figure it out myself. But I do my biggest thing is get a good attorney that is good with the IP and understand your product. And to see if it's definitely do your due diligence to see if it's worth it. Like are there other items out there? Is yours an improvement to it? Which it can be that's fine. Right? There's plenty of room for everyone out there in the world is a big world out there.

27:47
No, that's a great viewpoint to take and I see absolutely why it's, it's it's real advice. But it's hard advice to give sometimes, because being an inventor, you know that how cash strapped things are at the beginning. So I can notice that hesitation when you say go and get properly protected, get the patent. But there's a part of you that says oh my god, this, you know, people are a lot of inventors especially, they're creating something new. They may have day jobs they have you might be working as a teacher or as an engineer, and this is something they're funding on the side. So it's good advice, but it is hard advice to give. Because we do understand I understand completely how how difficult it is and anyone that's an inventor that's been through the process. Can knows that it's It's tough. It's might be the right advice, but it's bitter medicine sometimes. Because how do you take that precious little funding you have that you could use for advertising you can use for marketing you could use for prototypes, it can go 100 different places that money is going to be gone quick.

28:54
Yes. You are nickeled and dimed to death. And you're never in a straight line. It is like a pinball machine. And you're just bouncing around. And just every day is a different day.

29:10
So absolutely. So we're out of time, and I cannot thank you enough. It's been an absolute pleasure to have an inspiring inventor like yourself, kind of tell us about your journey and what you've been through. Again, guys, if you have more questions for and we put her the website on in the chatbox. Also, the inventors mastermind is our private Facebook group, where were the inventors are mentoring inventors. Jenny can post that up again, in the chat box. So feel free to visit there. And hopefully, and we'll have you come back in in a bit and get an update from you. This is phenomenal.

29:50
Yes. Thank you so much for having me. All right.

29:53
Thanks, guys. Have a wonderful Friday and the rest of your weekend.

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