term used by examiner when rejecting claims that the examiner feels would have been apparent to one "skilled in the art" at the time the invention was made.
An example of an invention that could be considered obvious is a combination of two drugs, the resulting effect being no more than taking one drug after another. Whether an invention is obvious requires a careful assessment of the facts of the case by the Commissioner of Patents or by the Courts and the application of tests set out in judgements made in similar cases.
Under section 1 of the Patents Act 1977, an invention is not patentable if it is not inventive. An invention is not inventive if it is obvious to a person as to any matters already known which form part of the existing state of the art.