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Is taste a personal predilection?

Is taste a personal predilection?

9/3/2020 | A good idea is often a matter of taste, just as the concept of success is often relative. It's certainly true that taste is personal. In legal terms, promotional qualifications don't mean that something automatically qualifies for protection. For an idea to qualify for protection under intellectual property law, it must meet objective standards. One of these standards is novelty, as is understood from the laws governing patent, design and plant breeders' rights.

Michael Jackson, for example, is known as the 'King of Pop' and one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. One of his distinguishing dance movements is the 'moonwalk' which the public saw for the first time on 25 March 1983 during his performance of 'Billie Jean'. Nonetheless, the 'moonwalk' is not something that qualifies for protection. Everyone including professional artists are allowed to perform the moonwalk. What's more, it's not new, the moonwalk had already been performed by soul artist James Brown prior to 1983.

However, this doesn't apply to the dance movement in which Michael Jackson defies the laws of gravity by leaning forward with both feet next to each other beyond the natural centre of gravity. Most of us will have tried to imitate this movement at some point, no doubt without success and hopefully without injury. The technique that makes this illusion possible has been the subject of a patent applied for in 1992 that could justifiably be called new and inventive.

It's clear from the patent specification that a specially designed shoe is used with a heel slot that can easily slide into bolts protruding from the floor. True enthusiasts can read the publication here. Michael Jackson can be called exceptional because there are few, if any, other artists who can say they are the owners of a 'patented' dance movement. The patent ensured he could forbid other artists from using this method thereby protecting his exclusivity: there's certainly no disputing that.

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