There are pluses and minuses to having patents. As it stands now the patent system is horribly broken and not doing what the founders intended when they set it up.
I have some patents through work and it does look nice to see my name on the patent database. It’s kinda like wetting yourself in a dark suit - it gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices.
Don Lancaster makes a compelling argument that for the little guy it’s best to avoid the whole mess to the degree possible.
Ok, is there ever a good time to get a patent?
Let’s assume that you have a rock-solid world-beating idea that cries out to be patented.
Here are some things to think about before spending the big cake on a patent.
The exhaustive case for and against patents if you are not IBM or Intel.
BTW: if you are not familiar with Don you may want to check him out - lots of great ideas for makers. He’s a consulting engineer and author that’s been around forever. His books and columns have shaped a lot of the microcomputer revolution, postscript & laser printer hacking, self-publishing, and midnight engineering. (the early maker movement)
If you are thinking of starting your own small enterprise his free book "Incredible Secret Money Machine " is absolutely required reading: