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Patent claim fails to halt Michael Jackson hologram at Billboard Music Awards

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Michael Jackson's hologram will live on — at least long enough to "perform" a song from the artist's posthumous album Xscape on stage during Billboard's Music Awards on Sunday night. A federal judge in Las Vegas denied a request for an injunction to halt the performance, ruling that the plaintiffs could not achieve the necessary burden of proof for such a measure.

The plaintiffs, Hologram USA and Musion Das Hologram, argued that the planned holographic performance violated their patents, which were obtained through the purchase of the now-defunct Florida company that helped produce Tupac's digital Coachella 2012 performance from beyond the grave. The defendants noted that such hologram tech has been available for decades — its origins, after all, are from a 19th century magic show illusion known as Pepper's Ghost.

The ruling doesn't mean that the Jackson hologram is in the free and clear, however. With the injunction denied, the plaintiffs won't be able to stop Sunday's performance, but they'll still be able to seek damages. In a separate case, Hologram USA is suing Cirque du Soleil and MGM Resorts International for their use of a hologram during the "Michael Jackson One" show that's currently in Vegas.