If you have ever invented an item or if you have ever created any sort of product, or even if you currently have developed a concept or created some blueprints for an idea then you should probably go ahead and get it a patent before you go around showing it to other people or begin working on getting it made. It is actually quite easy to steal ideas, concepts, and product designs off of other people and then present it as your own. Even if you do not mind getting the competition for the product or idea, another person could easily end up getting a patent made after they have copied your idea, and so you will end up owing them money from a legal standpoint if they claim that you are using their idea without permission. This can obviously put you in a position where you could lose any and all profits that you could have made, and also lose your invention or creation, and not be able to use it again.
Moving away from the idea of using the invention as a profit churning machine, you might not want to create a commercial and mass produced version of the item and just use it yourself or not really do much with it. Or maybe you are not sure how you can make it a big enough product that will get noticed. In this case, having a patent will mean you have the attention of the market. With a patent, you could work with other investors or simply sell the rights of the item or invention to another group or corporation. They will then be able to help you mass produce the item or simply pay you off so that they can own the item on their own. Find out more at Incubate IP.