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That's stretching it a bit. Just because more than one person hits upon something doesn't mean it's obvious; and as we know, it's much easier to understand a working instance of something than to discover/invent it.

So we need something to get around the problem of 'see new thing - figure it out - declare it obvious - sue to overturn patent'. Maybe the proposed first-to-file requirement will help that by taking the patent office out of the history-investigation business and just acting as a recording service, letting the parties fight out their dispute in court; I hope so. But it's hard to come up with some catch-all definition of what constitutes 'obviousness' because that will always be open to both honest and mercenary dispute.

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