• The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a spending bill that would provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $31.5 billion in fiscal year 2012. The proposed budget is $190 million less than this year. The bill would also create a new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to translate basic discoveries into health therapies, while abolishing the National Center for Research Resources. The reorganization is a top priority for NIH director Francis Collins.

  • On 16 September, President Obama signed into law a bill that will reform America's patent system. HR 1249 will bring the U.S. patent system more into line with the rest of the world by changing the ability of an inventor to patent a discovery. Under the new law, the first person to file for a patent will receive a patent. Currently, the first person to come up with an idea has priority for receiving a patent, even if they don't apply right away.


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