If you want to license your product or method, a patent will in most cases be required because you should get in touch with several potential licensees with a risk that they may “borrow” your idea. Moreover, a patent will be a security for the inventor in that the patent is an evidence of ownership of the idea.
Compared to secrecy and/or commercializing without patent protection, a patent will always be preferred if the idea is:
- novel and surprising (not straight forward to a person skilled in the art)
- contains strictly necessary features