Well my experience has been with larger companies which troll with my ideas and hold on to them to make millions. I agree that it isn't for an individual anymore inventor now. I do feel the research at this stage is worth the first time. I have been through the patent process about 6 times now. Some protection is better than none. You would have a much easier time with a license on your idea with it on the patent books or in process. The bigger question is how much control do you want over this idea?
Dave what is your personal experience with patents?