Patents are not helpful, unless you are dealing with a drug or a chemical. They can scare away some competition, but it is not the small competitors that you should be concerned with anyway. Trademarks or other IP (intellectual property) might be useful.
What you need to do is make sure you have a great distribution channel that can give you an advantage once the competition begins. Due to globalization and modern manufacturing techniques, you can expect real competition within months of having a successful product.
If your product will generate you significant returns in a short time, it might be worthwhile starting the process, while knowing that it will only last for a short time. In that case, don't start fighting the competition with a price war that will wipe out any profits... Accept the fact that your business has a limited life span.
You might be able to get rid of some competition by using a strategy called judo economics. What it means is using your opponents weaknesses to your advantage. The classic example of that is selling recycled ink cartridges for printers. HP can kill that market by lowering the price for ink, but since 80% of their profits come from the ink, they will loose more money from the discount then from the market share they are loosing right now. There are books on the subject if you are interested in learning more about it. It is important to note that your competition may not be rational, and may go after you despite the fact that they will loose more.