In T 296/93
the board held that, in relation to inventive step, the fact that other persons or teams were working contemporaneously on the same project might suggest that it was "obvious to try" or that it was an interesting area to explore, but it did not necessarily imply that there was a "reasonable expectation of success". A reasonable expectation of success should not be confused with the understandable "hope to succeed"
; it implied the ability of the skilled person to predict rationally, on the basis of the knowledge existing before a research project was started, the successful conclusion of the said project within acceptable time limits. The more unexplored a technical field of research was, the more difficult it was to make predictions about its successful conclusion and, consequently, the lower the expectation of success (T 694/92
, OJ 1997, 408). According to T 207/94
(OJ 1999, 273), the "hope to succeed" was merely the expression of a wish, whereas a "reasonable expectation of success" presupposed scientific appraisal of available facts.