I have some bad news for the wine lovers among us: It's apparently quite difficult to get a patent in CPC Class C12G - Wine; Other Alcoholic Beverages; Preparation Thereof. Let's hope this doesn't stifle important innovation. The news is equally bad for food lovers. If you fall into those categories, you're in for a treat...or not, apparently. 

What is the CPC?

When a patent application is submitted to the USPTO, it is sorted into a class and subclass based on the subject matter claimed in the application. The USPTO then uses this class and subclass designation to route applications to the appropriate tech centers, art unit group, and examiner. Thus, the USPTO sorts applications to a class and subclass based on whatever type of technology is claimed in the application before it routes them to an art unit. Prior to January 2013, the USPTO relied solely on UPSC classification while the EPO used ECLA. In an attempt to move toward unified classification, the offices jointly agreed to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system. As of January 1, 2015, it is the primary classification program used by the USPTO.

Which Classifications are the Hardest?

"Hardest" can mean a lot of things.  Here, we are interested in those classifications with the lowest allowance rates. While we've done numerous analyses of art units and tech centers, this is our first ranking of CPC classifications. Specifically, we are covering the first three levels of the CPC classification protocol. You can read more about the different levels of classification here, but basically, each classification begins with a section symbol denoted by a single letter. That letter is followed by a two-digit number known as the class symbol. After the class symbol comes another letter representing the subclass. That is the level of classification under consideration in this post. 

For this ranking, we looked at classes that have handled at least 100 applications. Here's what we found:

Of course, you can't choose your classification, but you can influence it. Juristat Drafting predicts your application's classification and identifies the specific claim language that is influencing its prediction. We've found that changing a few words or phrases can drastically alter your chances of ending up in an unfavorable classification. See for yourself with our free trial. No credit card required. You can get started right away with the claims you're currently working on.