There is so much to talk about and consider on this topic, you could probably blog on this subject alone!
So what did you come up with? Will you patent or not? I learned something else on this in terms of getting your product to market. Let's just assume you have a good idea and you choose not to get a patent. I'm certain you plan to put out a product that's the highest quality, best you can produce. In your plans, provide for a product that's a little less in terms of quality, make some minor changes, maybe not so many color choices, and produce and sell it for less. Yes! Knock yourself off! You heard me right, don't leave it to the Asians (meaning China), or even Wal Mart, make a less superior product, get it in the discount stores and collect your money for both the high and low end of your market!
The reality is, someone will do what you are doing. They will do it quickly, and they will have markets who will sell for them even though they may not have the rights to your intellectual property. You know that your patent is only as strong as your wallet is thick to protect it. My thoughts are do it first, do it best, do it twice, and have people think of you as the original. That way, even when someone is asking for the generic, they will ask for a "Coke." See what I'm saying?