Michael Jackson Holds More Patents Than I Do

Yep, that’s right. The king of pop has more patents than yours truly, the physics student*.

Maybe that’s no surprise. After all, I don’t hold any patents. That’s not really my thing, or at least, it hasn’t been in the past. But still, if you were given the two of us side-by-side for comparison, who would you have guessed was more likely the officially recognized inventor?

The invention in question is US Patent number 5255452. It can be viewed here, but basically everything you need to know about it is summed up in this photo:

Yes sir, Jacko (and co-authors Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins) has a patent on his trademark “anti-gravity lean.” As the patent puts it, it describes

…[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 which will engage with a hitch member movably projectable through a stage surface.

It’s basically a pair of shoes with lots of ankle support and notches in the bottom of the heel, along with pegs that can pop out of the floor at just the right time to lock into the notches and allow the performer to go all “Smooth Criminal” unexpectedly.

To be honest, I don’t know what upsets me more: the fact that Jackson patented an antigravity device before me, or the fact that one of his signature stage moves was just a mechanical trick.


*No, I will not tell you how I happened upon this. And yes, I realize if I spent less time discovering crap like this I might have several patents by now.


About Colin West
Colin West is a graduate student in quantum information theory, working at the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. Originally from Colorado (where he attended college), his interests outside of physics include politics, paper-folding, puzzles, playing-cards, and apparently, plosives.

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