Once I've submitted a patent application, at this point, can anyone steal my idea if it's patentable?
So the—once you submit your patent, you are patent pending, and you have a secure filing date at the Patent Office. At that point, can anybody start selling the product? Yes, because the patent itself is not going to stop infringement. But, you've got that secure filing date. If they rushed to the Patent Office and filed their own patent, your date is going to be prior to their date, and you're going to have superior rights. Now, when your patent grants, whatever investment they have made in manufacturing and molds and marketing, all of that investment is at risk, because with that granted patent, you can send a cease and desist letter and get a court order preventing them from sales, but most of the time, rather than face that they would be amenable to either paying a royalty or perhaps purchasing rights from you.