The Fencebrackets Story

In my early twenties and after I had ended university, I wanted to get out in to the world and make money - start an adult life and

finish education which I always found boring - you can’t teach talent, right? I quit Uni without actually finishing, which was partly

due to an illness and partly due to the distress of my parent’s divorce which left me out of sorts and in difficult circumstances.

After Uni I ended up doing all sorts of silly part time temping jobs and delivered pizzas seven days a week. It was quite good fun

actually - not a care in the world and enjoying young adult life. I was dating different girls, going out clubbing, partying and

driving dangerously in little sports cars I had. You know - the typical crazy young life. There is a lot more to it but this is really

about the fencebrackets story.

Between 21 - 24 yrs old, I had been running a mail order pet supplies business from home (yes my bedroom actually!) and then

I decided to open a small retail shop, and I mean this place was small - about enough room to put a desk and a few shelves of

goods. It didn’t make any money and in hindsight the market was too small (reptiles and exotic pets) to make a good living and I

never had any money to invest in it. I had the big dreams of expansion and I did build up a small customer base but it wasn’t

ever going to make me a fortune. I do remember the excitement I felt opening a little shop even though it was a tiny little place -

it was all the excitement of being in business and trade - all the feelings you have when you embark on a path to build your

dreams. The excitement, the adventure - the whole world is your oyster. You feel an air of exuberance around you and invincible

- self motivated and ready to tear the hell out of life.

When I was 25 years old in around 2001 and with barely any money to my name, I decided to try and start off in the construction

business because people were asking what I was going to do with my life and obviously they could see my pets business wasn’t

going to make it in the way I believed it would. I stuck at it anyway because I’ll do things my way but eventually I got frustrated

and wanted to do something to make more money. I decided to go into a trade and started up a tree work and gardening


This was another of those adventures. I was penniless at the time and managed to get my first job lopping a row of conifers

(cedars) for 80 quid. In 2000, that was a good little reward for a simple job. I bought half a ladder which I couldn’t afford - I had

to write a cheque to the supplier for 25 pounds and asked him if they would bank it on the Monday because I was doing the job

on the Friday and I think they realised I was skint. So they delivered the ladder and I went and spent another 30 pounds on

some saws and a pair of loppers. I didn’t have any transport and so I had to walk around to this job carrying my half a ladder

and the tools. It was heavy but I was up in the clouds thinking about my first job and keen to go and do it. I did the job and got

paid the 80 pounds. I banked the money, cleared the cheque but had to tell the supplier that unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to

buy the other half of the ladder LOL :) To this day, 22 years later, I still have that half a ladder in my workshop. It never gets

used because it is pretty useless - it’s only 12ft long, but it reminds me of all those early days and years I started off in business.

It does bring a smile and happy memories. I put some ads in the local shops and a few cheap adverts in the papers and

managed to get another job pruning another tree. I decided to get a trading name and called it Outlaw Tree Surgery. I was the

sherriff going around doing a good job because the industry was renowned for cowboy builders. I was never really interested in

doing bodge jobs - that just didn’t ever appeal to me and I just didn’t understand how you could build a business with a future if

you just went around ripping people off. I made up a few flyers and trawled around the streets dropping off my flyers. It didn’t

bother me doing all the leg work - I had a paper round delivering morning newspapers for seven years from the age of 11 years

old so I was used to the work. From the flyers I managed to get more customers and the trade began to build up. I expanded

into other areas of construction such as landscaping and I eventually began employing part time staff. In 2001 I then abandoned

the Outlaw name because I was doing lots of different things and invented the name BlackRock Construction. It was very

successful in the boom years. I always had an abundance of work and made sure we always did a good job. I thoroughly

enjoyed being in the trade and running my own business. I eventually had two or three vans (trucks), cinema advertising and a

good consistent wage coming in. I should point out that I started my degree in construction and law combined honours and my

parents had been in the property business, so this wasn’t an alien area of work for me. I had been cleaning up my fathers

building sites from the age of 9 or 10yrs old every saturday for pocket money and I had become used to seeing the tradesmen

and watching how the industry worked. That would be child labour these days and it would be completely illegal! I must have

soaked a lot in to my young mind because years later in my own business I just seemed to know how to do things without

remembering ever being shown. I carried on running the construction business and had a good life for a few years. I was

completely independent, rented my own house, carried on night life, camping in the holidays, loads of girlfriends, going to the

gym, trips abroad soaking up the sun in the Greek Islands etc. etc. It was a good promising business generating me a good

income and a happy life. I was paying my taxes, paying the bills, all the usual daily life and business routines. By the age of

around 29 ish I had employed over almost 40 people. Not all at once admittedly but I was running multiple jobs simultaneously

until my business took a severe hit caused from the crime and incompetence of HMRC which resulted in court cases and

corrupted judgements - judgements made by the very same judge involved in the present case today.

Anyway, to avoid that trauma at the moment, one day I was building a fence for a customer and I think it was one of the first

fences I had to install. I didn’t really know what I was doing but puzzled through it and eventually found some fence panel fixings

- the U clip type that you had to attach to the fence post and then lift the great big panel right up into the air to try to slide it down

through these clips that you had already attached to the two posts one each side of the fence panel. I actually couldn’t work out

how to fit the clips at all and had to go to take advice from the hardware store. After wasting my time and money and getting

frustrated and thinking that this method was idiotic I remember thinking to myself - there must surely be a better way than doing

it like this. I went back to the hardware store and told them that this was idiotic and dangerous and there must be another way of

doing it. They gave me some other fence fixings which weren’t any better. I remember it was a hot summers day and I had had

enough of trying to install this damn fence and so went to the pub for a drink after work. My mind was still on what I was trying to

accomplish and I just started pencilling up rough sketches on a beer mat of different ways of fixing this panel to the post. I

carried on the next day at work finishing this fence and continued thinking it over in my mind. I had some intial ideas and started

making up some prototypes. At the time, I didn’t even realise that what I was doing was in effect, prototyping. In my mind, I was

just playing around with pieces of cardboard and getting them to fix this cardboard mock up fence panel to this cardboard mock

up post. I wasn’t a professional inventor or product developer - I don’t think I even knew what product development was. Time

passed by and every now and then my thoughts would return to my fence ideas and in 2003 I began to make a bit more

progress. I wasn’t really thinking about commercialisation or profit from ideas - I was just trying to get my ideas to work for me. I

was renting this little house that had a little courtyard. I decided to get an actual real life fence panel and two posts, set them up

in the courtyard and make up some metal prototypes. I hadn’t done any metal cutting before (or not since the days of school

classes) and went to buy some thin metal which was tin or aluminium and I glued my paper prototype to the sheet because I

didnt know how to drawn or mark metal. So I glued it on and cut it out then used the corner of my table to bend the metal. The

first prototype was a mess. I carried on making more prototypes and producing different designs and alternatives to get my idea

to work. Finally one day it just worked and I had produced a product that allowed me to attach the fixing to the fence panel and

then fix the fence panel to the post, without having to do it the other way around and lifting the panel above your head and all

that rubbish. I was elated that I had managed to create this thing and so I thought I would patent it. I had filed my first patent

when I was 21 with my pets business and had some knowledge of what a patent was but I hadn’t ever drawn up my own patent.

It was a bit of a closed and unrecognized industry in the UK and as far as I knew, patents and designs were what financial type

people did in little offices somewhere.

I had a meeting with the firm that had drawn up my first patent for my cable tidy when I was 21. The chap that had helped me

had passed away through old age and so I went to another firm. I met with some little graduate 25 year old twirp who told me

that he didn’t think my products were worth patenting and that nobody would buy such products. Needless to say that meeting

ended promptly. I decided to ignore the loser, even though his opinion played on my mind and made me think I was wasting my

time. I also decided that I wasn’t going to be disuaded and asked the Patent Office if they could recommend anyone to help me.

They sent me this little booklet about how to write a patent. I sat down and read through it. It was the beginning of the summer,

June of 2003. I carried on over the summer months reading through the book and writing my first patent and filed it in August

2003 - known as GB2390104. I filed a second patent on my second fence bracket in 2004 and claimed priority also going back

to August 2003 so I now had two patents on two fencebrackets. I then filed a third patent on another fencebracket and was

about to file a forth on my RX bracket and was advised by the Patent Office that they didn’t think the invention was patentable,

which years later turned out be misadvice and the Defendants have also produced products that would have now infringed that

forth patent. The third patent I allowed to lapse because in one year one of the Defendants told me that this was in breach of

their prior art. That same Defendant also told me that they didn’t have any interest in licening my patent or distributing my

product. Years later now in 2018 I have found they have committed a criminal conspiracy and have flooded the North American

marketplace with a product that without doubt would infringe a US patent if I had one but they started a conspiracy in the UK to

take my ideas to the USA to get around paying for my patent after they claimed they didnt have any interest. In a conspiracy, the

plot itself is the crime. They don’t sell this very same product in the UK even though we have all the same building materials and

construction techniques - strange isn’t it?

After the Patent GB2390104 was published I began making up some small runs of my products and sent some newer market ready and useable versions of my products to many Companies in the UK to see if any of them had any interest in licencing my Patent and to commercially produce the products on a big scale so that I could make some money out of my inventions. Two of these Companies are now named Defendants who did not officially reply to my letters, although someone at one of the Defendant firms did telephone me once and told me he had ‘passed it on’. I never heard from them again. I had a few other responses from a small number of Companies, none of them showing any interest in my products or patents but wishing me luck (thanks for nothing) and so after having spent all of my savings on prototypes I was back to square one. I was disappointed, as I had thought that someone would have seen the potential in my patent and products, but England is a dreadful little nation and if people haven’t done anything for themselves they don’t seem to want to help anyone else go further than them. I was then only 27 years old at the time, naive and stupid and having no real business experience - I’m now 43 and i’ve mastered my craft. It then became obvious that if I wanted to make a go of it to try to make myself any headway with my inventions or a fortune I would have to do it myself, by ambling through a monstrous task of trying to bring products to market by myself, that involved designing, prototyping, trialling, testing, re-designing, re-trialling etc as well as competing against worldwide Companies that hold monopolies over industries and, without any help or funding or investment or professional expertise. So this is what I did. I even had a meeting with the board of a well-known Company who previously held the monopoly on the previous market leading product which was the U clip. The clowns that ran the firm clearly didn’t have any business accumen and told me my products would never sell and they had no interest in me or my products. They later went bust and sold off the remnants of their failed business a year or two after my products became known as being far better than theirs. My products outsold theirs by at least 300-1 where stocked. Without having any luck getting anyone to back me or invest in me and my products, I turned my attention to marketing my products myself. This was a whole new world to me - a big and scary business world. I had some previous experience in design and marketing and I had had an interest in that area most of my life. I just have a gift in this field and creation comes naturally to me. I began inventing brands, designing marketing materials, brochures, pamphlets, ad campaigns, refining my products and testing them. When it looked like there would be some good commercial potential in a mass market I then had a small number of my products professionally produced for retail sale and that small number certainly wasn’t cheap. I know without doubt that I made a loss but at least the products were out there and I had in a microscopic way taken a product to market. These products were improved and market ready compared to the earlier samples because I wanted to ensure my products were faultless. I knew that being a minnow in a big pond of whales I would only get one shot at it and by then my savings would be running out. This was between 2004 - 2006. The photo of me holding the buckets of fencebrackets was taken at the first retailer where they went on sale. I still had some hair then as well ! lol :) About 2 years and £15,000 of my money later in 2006 I exhibited at my first trade show known as the GLEE Show to officially launch my products, which cost me another £5,000, to generate some interest. I had many Companies that were ‘curious’ including two of the Defendant firms who took samples of my products off of my stand. As my first trade stand was admittedly pathetic and only 1m x 1.5mtrs, I think businesses thought that I would disappear overnight and/or didn’t have the financial muscle or support to supply them anyway, and so I didn’t generate a single sale. I didn’t even have any product labels or barcodes or even any packaging I just had a table with some little metal brackets on it and a poster. It’s a shame I didn’t take a photo of it (or can’t find any if I did). I had my products on display in the new products arena to later find out that visitors had stolen them. I went home disappointed yet again and was back to square one again. I felt a bit gutted actually knowing that visitors were stealing my new fencebrackets. They weren’t cheap! Then I decided I would have to approach small independent retailers directly myself as I had already spent £20,000 (4 years’ worth of my savings) and spent 2 -3 years of my time inventing the products from 2001 2003 and it was now 2006. After the Glee show and the listening to the feedback from visitors of the show, it turned out that another of my products known as my fence clip in GB2401616 was far more desirable than my RP Bracket because it could be positioned anywhere along the vertical side of the fence panel, whereas the RP Bracket was limited to the corners. I agreed with the feedback as the fenceclip could be produced much cheaper and was more suitable to wooden post and panel fencing and could be used in construction with other materials. I still kept the patent GB2390104 in force as I still sell small quantities of the RP Bracket and in hindsight this patent has been used to sell products all over the world by one of the Defendants who claims in his own witness statement “because 2005 was the year when we first sold the product” after claiming they didn’t have any interest in 2004. In 2006 and 2007 I designed and printed sales literature and began trawling around all of the small independent retailers who were very reluctant to stock my products for the same reasons already mentioned and a multitude of other excuses that I won’t go into, but believe me I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why people will not stock my revolutionary products or help me in any way. I then had to sneak my way in to the very first retailer claiming that I already stocked 30 other local retailers and that they would lose out if they didn’t come on board and finally I had my first stockist! At that point I didn’t have any more stock and so I had to wait several months for the payment from the first order and to see if the products sold and what the market feedback was. To my delight my products sold very well with good feedback. I had that feeling of success and accomplishment which is difficult to describe if you haven’t experienced it yourself. I was juiced up and motivated to keep going. I then had to invent some packaging and unique display stands and then had more small stocks of my products manufactured in the UK. Eventually it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be cost effective to have my products produced in the UK. I remember going to a powder coating specialist in Wales who wanted 3p per bracket just to powder coat and it would have to be a run of 50,000pcs which to me was the end of the world. 3p was nearly all of the profit and 50,000 pieces?? How would I ever sell that many? I could only fit 300 in a bucket, so that was many many buckets worth - beyond my imagination. It was daunting. Even the means of funding it was impossible for me. I pondered this for months and then eventually approached a venture investment firm who got me to sign up all sorts of agreements and they provided import finance on 10,000 for my first large order. Prior to this I had to design all the barcodes, find out all about barcoding and packaging, production runs, testing coatings etc. It was a monumental task and it took up all of my time. I kept my construction business going although by now it was just me on my own and I was earning enough to get the leaflets done, the barcodes done, paying for the trade shows etc. All the small things I was slowly accumulating. I then approached a few more retailers and began stocking them as well and then after feedback I realised that I also needed product labels to identify the products and promote my brand. Even though I thought I had a market ready product, the market thinks differently - they all have demands and would like to see this and see that. I tried to implement as much of their demands as possible into my packaging and displays and in hindsight and over the course of ten years I really took the market by storm. It cost me another £5,000 and took me approximately another six months of trial and testing up to the end of 2006 and early 2007 before I headed back to another Glee show in 2007 with improvements and fully packaged products. I was in the professional arena with a professional product and a world of promise and potential.
Copyright © Richard Perry 2018. Copyright commencement date is 14th February 2018.
Richard Perry Versus.
The Fencebrackets Story Page 1
I want to state for the record and to say to all the people that have laughed and smirked at me over the years, that all of the money that I had invested into my inventions was not given to me: it was not loaned to me, it was not donated by family or friends, it didn’t fall out of the sky, it wasn’t won and it wasn’t stolen. I made my money by grafting away six and sometimes seven days a week, digging people’s gardens and putting up fences in the pouring rain, cold winters, snow, and hot stifling summers sweating buckets, earning this money to invest in my products. I couldn’t find anyone willing to invest in me and I couldn’t afford to go out or buy any new clothes or new cars and couldn’t even afford to live in a nice house, whilst I watched all my friends do exactly that; having their families and family lives, nice new cars, holidays abroad, regularly going out etc. and, that alone is soul destroying. I have lost several girlfriends over the years where I couldn’t afford to take them out and I invested every penny I had into my future with my products and brands, and so whatever I receive from this whether it is a court win or an out of court settlement - I have earned it and I fully deserve it and I am fully entitled to it. If anyone thinks that innovation and producing market leading products is easy then go and do it. Go and invent something, start off with nothing, get a patent if you can and produce market leading products without any funding or investment and then come and tell me how easy it is. In 2007 I found out that producing the products in the UK was no longer viable as the margins were not big enough and the powder coating cost far outstretched the retail price, and then it became obvious that I would have to find a foreign manufacturer to produce the products. Of course everyone was fascinated with Asia in particular China, and so that’s where I began my search. I was one of the early users of Alibaba - the site was terrible at the time - it only had a few listings but it put me into contact with my Chinese supplier who I have been doing business with now for over 12 years and they’ve manufactured millions of my products. It was again a daunting and scary task for me to go to China as I do not like to travel alone and did not look forward to going to the Far East to some unknown wild country where I didn’t even speak the language. The China affair.