Imitation's the sincerest form of flattery. It's also likely to confuse potential customers and create legal problems between companies and other issues when it's applied to VR headsets. It seems like Sony is willing to take the high road, however, when it comes to the Lenovo Mirage Solo headset by officially letting Lenovo license the PlayStation VR (PS VR) headset's design.
Sony released the PS VR in October 2016. It was the first VR headset for consoles to reach the market—unless you count the headache-inducing Virtual Boy—and quickly gained popularity among PlayStation 4 owners (you can learn more about the system in our review). The company sold 2 million PS VR units in 2017, and by August 2018 it had shipped a total of 3 million. Suffice to say there's no way the PS VR went under the radar.
Yet when Lenovo released the Mirage Solo in May 2018, it looked quite similar to Sony's headset. The headsets don't really compete with each other—the Mirage Solo is a standalone device, the PS VR requires a console—but the flattery, so to speak, was all too fragrant.
Today, the companies announced that they signed a two-year patent license agreement that allows Lenovo to use the PS VR's industrial design for the Mirage Solo. Neither company beats around the bush either, with Sony stating that the "industrial design for PS VR has been widely acclaimed" as "the result of years of hard work by PlayStation engineers" and that licensing to Lenovo would be good for VR.
Lenovo also acknowledged the reasoning behind the agreement:
"Lenovo is pleased to partner with Sony," said Yao Li, vice president of Lenovo Consumer Tablets and Smart Devices Product and Business Management. "The preeminence of the PS VR design is obvious. This agreement will allow us to work together to greatly enhance the design sophistication and appeal of the rapidly expanding VR field and is an outstanding example of how great consumer brands in the VR industry can work together to benefit the consumer VR market."