If an inventor chooses not to apply for patent, but instead to produce and sell a "fad" product, can the profits thereof be taken away by a subsequent non-inventor who applies for and receives a patent on that item? Or is the production and sale of the original item prevent its being patented at a later time by anyone?
Before I produce and market the invention, I will make sure that it is not protected by an existing patent. If it is, then obviously I will not proceed. If it is not, I will try to market it as quickly as possible and try to extract as much value before there are imitations. If I reveal my invention by applying for a patent, I know there will be similar devices in production shortly thereafter, and I cannot afford to get into litigation over it. It took me 2 years to get my last patent and several 'inventors' have cited and modified my original design and have also received patents on their 'new' inventions.