How many times has this happened? You get an idea. It's brilliant! You can't wait to start on it. This might even be "the one" that makes you rich and famous.
But then, maybe halfway through the process or after it is completed, you see the exact same thing, done by someone else in the past or maybe almost at the exact same time. ‘Pop’ goes the dreams of fame and fortune and you wonder, “Did I see that somewhere before and just forgot about it?’
Many years ago, I worked up a unique chair design. I wanted something distinctive but practical. Something that would be recognizable as mine. Not long after I made the design public, I saw the exact same design by another maker.
My assumption was that he saw my chair and copied it. I held onto that assumption for years until I had the experience of making something I thought was original and later saw essentially the same thing, made many years before my piece was even conceived. After that, I was never quite as sure that I had been copied.
I guess this is why people get patents!