I know that @RichArlt went to great lengths to secure a patent before going to market with his Wycked Hitch system.
FYI, My Patent Agent allowed me to pay as we went through the Provisional & Utility Patent process. $600 here, $1200 there......it was actually quite affordable. He did the patent search for a small fee, and the Provisional $ investment transferred to the Utility Patent. His name is Ben Williams, Williams Intellectual Property. Williams Intellectual Property He is not a patent attorney, he's better! Best business move I could have made!