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During examination of an application for a standard patent, examiners must consider whether a claim contains an "inventive step" in relation to the prior art base.

An objection of lack of inventive step occurs where the essential features of a claim have not been previously disclosed, but the claimed features would naturally suggest themselves (be obvious) to the person skilled in the relevant art.

Examiners must consider the issue of inventive step in the context of the person skilled in the relevant art, in the light of the common general knowledge, trying to solve a predetermined problem. Thus wherever the phrase "in the context of the problem" is used in this part, it should be related to the person skilled in the art.

For an inventive step objection to apply, it must be established that the prior art information (if any) would be relied upon by a person seeking a solution to the problem, and that any consideration of the common general knowledge with that prior art information would be obvious to that person.

The objection also arises where there is no difference between the claimed invention and the prior art information, however in such circumstances a novelty objection will always apply.

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