UW entrepreneurs hope they don't go bust over new bra design

SEATTLE -- A couple of entrepreneurial University or Washington students are already facing the "Shark Tank" of reality and they haven't even graduated yet.

Whether you're saggy or perky, petite or Double D, there's a bra for nearly every need. Yet UW business majors Mariah Gentry and Kyle Bartlow had a bra brainstorm.

"Originally it was my idea," Bartlow said.

Yes the one who doesn't wear the bra, saw so many friends lose or break phones they'd tucked in undergarments, he drew a bra with pockets.

"When he first told me, I was kind of like 'What? Really?' " Gentry said. "Three seconds later I thought 'Oh my goodness, why hasn't anyone done this before?!'"

Well it turns out they have, sort of. Classmates Bartlow and Gentry filed a utility patent for the Joeybra. Like a baby kangaroo in mom's pouch, a woman's items are protected in pockets.

"Essentially a pocket on either side, two pockets large enough to put a phone or card," Gentry said.

But a British man is suing the seniors, claiming they've lifted his patented 1999 design.

"Iit's a pocket on the inside, ours is on the outside, a large difference," Bartlow said. And the pocket size in the British man's sketch is too small for a smartphone. "Probably a house key that's about it stick of gum if wanted to take that with you.," Bartlow said.

The Joeybra founders are backing their design and not backing down.

"If we decided to give in right now, our company assets are fairly low, to me it didn't make sense," Bartlow said. "Probably spending more in suing us than we have."

The UW seniors have already sold 1,200 of these bras at $19.99 a pop, and a lot of that money is going to prototypes and legal expenses. That can cost a lot and they don't want to go bust.

The enterprising duo is also working on a sports bra with pockets for iPods and an ID that will debut in few months.