I had no patent. I did have drawing, schematics, pictures, of the electronics and my prototype. One of the engineers that was with the owner admitted to me in front of the owner that they had paid my so called friend for all the information.That kinda illustrates one of the 'interesting' differences between patents & copyrights. If you'd written something (song, story, description of the object you made, even taken a picture of the object), those creations would be *automatically* copyrighted. It would be up to you to *defend* your copyright (prove you wrote, photographed, etc), but they'd be *yours* under copyright law.
But since your friend took the picture, it was his copyrighted picture.
But, since you hadn't gone through the active torture of obtaining a patent, your physical creation had no protection. Unless your 'friend' went through the patent process before taking the design to that mfgr, they didn't *have* to pay him anything, either (assuming they could figure out how to make it from the pic).
The law is like quantum mechanics; makes sense to quantum physicists, but not in the context of normal physics.
It wasn't all bad, I got some engineering work from other companies when the word got out of what happen.