By: Jim Dossey, MS, MBA, JD
Michael Jackson’s Patent
In 1993, Michael Jackson, Michael L. Bush, and Dennis Tompkins filed for
a patent on the “anti-gravity” shoes they invented. U.S. Patent
and Trade Office patent No. 5,255,452 covers a "system for allowing
a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue
of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes." The shoes had a special
grove cut in the sole that would attach to a bolt sticking out of the
stage floor. Jackson used the anti-gravity shoes to wow audiences during
his performance of “smooth criminal.”
Despite successfully obtaining the patent, the patent was deemed abandoned
in 2005, after only 12 years, when Jackson failed to pay the required
patent maintenance fees. In general, utility patents have a 20 year term
starting on the day the application was filed. Design patents have a 14
year term starting on the day the patent is granted.
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