Remember that US patents are given to the first to file for a patent and not the first to invent, as can be demonstrated by the US patent for the incandescent lightbulb: http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/edison.asp or the telephone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invention_of_the_telephone
Of course, the first one shows that the US patent office can issue a patent for something already patented elsewhere in the world.
This is blatantly WRONG. Unlike most of the world, the US is a first to INVENT system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_to_file_and_first_to_invent http://inventors.about.com/od/firsttoinvent/First_to_Invent_Rule.htm and I could keep going with google results 3, 4, and 5.