just playing Devil's Advocate, but is there anyway you can prove you made it first? that you took the pictures?
I didn't actually go through all the links, so if it was somehow clear in those, then I apologize in advance for not looking into it thoroughly before asking the above questions
Also, if someone isn't a paying sponsor here.. are they still a "vendor"? I'm confused on that part.
You should patent any product you intend to sell. The patent may take time to go through, but patent pending is better than no patent at all