Whilst it will come as no surprise that Michael Jackson owns considerable copyright royalties that may now even pay off his reported $500 million debts but it may come as a surprise that the music legend owns a US patent.
The patent is on a “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.” It appears in the video “Smooth Criminal” where Jackson and his dancers leaned forward, pausing slightly at 45 degrees.
One of the elements required to obtain a patent is that the invention must solve a technical problem. Jacksonâ€™s patent application stated that he had dance steps that would make it appear that a performer would lean forward beyond the centre of gravity. But this required cables attached to his waist, which needed numerous stage hands, and can only be performed in his videos and not during a live performance on stage.
Featured in Discovery News his invention solves the problem by making a special shoe, with a hitch designed to slip into a peg on stage, allowing the performer to lean forward beyond his or her centre of gravity.
Jackson filed his patent in 1992, which means he has exclusive rights over this for 20 years, until 2012. It is doubtful if a pair of shoes can rake in sales comparable to his copyright royalties.