The USPTO has abolished subclass 14 in Class 705 and replaced it with three dozen subclasses, 14.1 through 14.73. The changes are contained in Classification Order #1888, which was published on Sept. 1, 2009. Established in 1997, Class 705 covers patents relating to Data Processing: Financial, Business Practice, Management or Cost/Price Determination. It is one of the classes covering so-called business method inventions. According to the USPTO database, approximately 20,552 patents, the vast majority issued since 1976, are classified in Class 705. More than twice that number, roughly 54,206, of published applications are also classified in Class 705.
Just in time for Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the U.S.), the USPTO has added a series of cross-reference art collection subclasses (901-939) to Class 89, Ordnance. The changes are outlined in Classification Order #1889, which was published on October 6. Class 89 was created in 1901 and includes "all guns adapted to be mounted or supported otherwise than by hand, all explosion-operated guns including hand and shoulder firearms, bomb dropping devices," and all types of artillery mounts, carriages and vehicles. The new subclasses pertain to armor.
Curiously, Class 89 also includes a subclass for "methods of waging war." Some patents included in this eclectic subclass include a "friendly fire prevention system and methods" (US 6,986,302), a "method of protecting a space vehicle" from a laser weapon (US 5,323,682) and a 1943 patent (US 2,313,388) for a "vehicle impeding device," a sort of anti-tank device that looks like a caltrop, an iron three or four pointed spike that was strewn on a battlefield to stop cavalry.
According to the USPTO database, 20,585 patents and 1,066 published applications are classified in Class 89.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.