Saturday, May 09, 2009

How do you write a provisional patent application?

That is not especially relevant to one seeking to learn negotiation, but I have a second interest, which is patents and other intellectual property. Being this is my web log, I am going to indulge it.

A provisional patent application is used to suspend time. It costs thousands to file a real ("utility) patent application, so to pin down when you made the invention you file a provisional. This gives you a "priority date" good all over the world, so long as you follow up with a utility within a year. And you can write the provisional yourself, if you follow the requirements. Sometimes the best way to describe what is required of someone is by example. Therefore, for anyone planning to write a provisional, herewith an example of what you need to write.


Background: In all prior art baseball bats have been made by sawing off tree trunks so the cross section is square. A handle has been sawn near the proximal end of the bat, where the batsman can hold onto it. This has also been square in cross section, although smaller than the distal end that strikes the ball. This type of bat often strikes the ball on one of the sharp corners, resulting in an unpredictable direction of flight.

Summary of the invention. I have invented a baseball bat round in cross section and with the handle arising in a gentle contour diminishing from the "head" or distal end of the bat. This results in a far more predictable and thus controllable direction of flight.

Brief description of the drawings. Fig. 1 and Fig 2 show a baseball bat according to the prior art, respectively in plan and cross section views while Figs. 3 and 4 shows a baseball bat according to the present invention, again respectively in plan and cross section views .

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments. As shown in Fig. 3, the bat 1 gradually tapers from the head or distal end 2 to the proximal or handle end 3, and then more sharply to the knob 4. These tapers are achieved in the preferred embodiment by placing a piece of ash or hickory wood of sufficient initial diameter in a wood lathe and turning it down with appropriate cutting tools. As shown in Fig. 4, the cross section is maintained by the lathe as a perfect circle everywhere along the length of the bat 4. The diameter is maximal at the head end 2, minimal along the handle 3 and larger than the handle at the knob 4 at the proximal end of the bat.

As will be clear to any person familiar with the art of forming baseball bats, there are many other possible embodiments, based on using different types of wood or other materials and by using different tapers from those shown in Fig. 3, as may be convenient for manufacture and for those wielding the bats.

[drawings omitted; you can imagine them]


  1. great post! i’ve always been looking for free ways to patent things..

  2. Keep in mind that a provisional provides no patent protection, and is only a placeholder