Curious to see what the people think...
The major problem with patents is simple... What if somebody else would have thought of the idea on their own? In such a case the government patent is state tyranny akin to mercantilism. The patent owner then is able to exercise undo exclusive control over the idea which results in a monopoly...and monopolies result in high prices and reduces supply.
On the flip-side if government does not award exclusive access to an idea...and nobody else would have thought of it...then the inventor is not afforded the proportionate economic awards for his creativity and effort.
It's a tricky issue... And quite wide-spread. You can point your finger almost anywhere in a room...on a street...wherever...and you'll probably be pointing at something that has been patented and has government approved exclusive privileges. In my estimation...your average patent clerk does not and can not have the capability of determining whether the invention is too obvious or would have been invented elsewhere. Furthermore they are under tremendous concentrated commercial pressure to approve as many patents as fast as possible... Many major monopolies and quasi-monopolies that we see strangely dominate certain sectors of the economy...actually do so in part because of their control over critical patents. So IMO it is more important to error on the extreme of not having enough patents...and ultimately the best safeguard may be do to away with patents altogether.