Loosely, something that is not readily apparent. Nonobviousness is one of the requirements for obtaining a patent. A supposed invention is usually obvious if someone of ordinary skill in a relevant field could easily make the invention based on prior art. See 35 U.S.C. § 103(a).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A requirement for patent protection. A new invention must produce unexpected or surprising new results that are not anticipated by the existing technology (or prior art). A nonobvious invention is unexpected by a person with ordinary skill in the art -- for example, the telephone technology created by Alexander Graham Bell was not obvious to audio and sound engineers of Bell's day. (See also: prior art
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:20 pm