Yup keep everything to yourself until its patent ... Or disclosure agreementsWow. Didn't realize how complicated this all could be. Like i said it's just in the idea stage. Fairly well worked out in my head but that's far from a functional and finished product. Thanks for the input. Sounds like you really have to watch out for people. Wish it weren't that way but that's what money creates for all of us right.
This really depends on what type of item it is. If it's simple and easy to manufacture with a relatively small market then this is definitely the way to go. If it requires a large investment and equipment and you'll be marketing to a large market then a Patent can be incredibly useful. As far as large companies making minor changes to the product and steeling your idea this is an indication that you had a poorly worded patent. A well written patent tends to minimize this type of assault. Having a Patent Lawyer is extremely helpful in ensuring an enforceable patent. Yes the patent is for litigation. If you see anyone trying to steel your idea and you don't make an effort to stop them, then your patent becomes useless. You must protect it from all infringers not just the big ones. This is why complicated large production runs and designs that are likely to grab large market shares and require significant resources to build are where Patents are critical. Things like bow presses and other small market items tend not to return enough profit for a reasonable return on investment. In these cases it's real hard to justify a patent. My guess is that a patent for a broadhead design from a personal inverter standpoint is likely not a good investment. It would really need to be unique and preform a lot better than it's competition to significantly grab enough market share to pay for the patent overhead. I'm sure your thought was hey this is a pretty cool idea I could patent this and make some money, but I doubt that would be the reality of the situation. It's just real hard to make a buck from an idea alone. It's a bit cheaper for larger companies to handle use patents because they have Lawyers and manufacturing bandwidth ready to take advantage of the patent and they are also prepared to deal with infringers. However if the idea is unique enough and the market is large enough and you are willing to take the financial risk then yes a patent is a worthwhile tool.I was told by an inventor a long time ago, a patent is only as good as the money behind it. The best thing to do is make and sell as many as you can before someone else does. Screw the patent if you don't have the money to back it up. It costs way more to fight someone over a patent infringement than it does to just build and market your idea and chances are that you won't make enough to cover the attorney fees.