Is it legal to clone Mehndi designs?

What is Henna and why it should be protected?

A type of art which is widely in practice is a dye made from a Henna plant, a paste which can be applied to a skin and leaves behind a stain which has its traditional and medicinal purposes as well. These intricate designs on one’s palm may have often left us wondered about the IP protection of these beautiful designs. Henna art is just like any other art which needs to be protected to help the fellow mehndi artist can get profit from its creative work, gets recognized and it will also help enhance and foster creativity among Mehndi artists.

Its protection under Copyright Act-

Before getting into protection of Henna designs, we first have to analyze whether it comes under purview of artistic work.

Artistic work is defined under Section 2 (c) of the Copyright Act, 1957, it means,—

(i) a painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a

Photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality;

(ii) a [work of architecture]; and

(iii) any other work of artistic craftsmanship;

By this definition it can be said that artistic work is a creation by an artist, which is brought into existence using one’s artistic abilities and skill.

Henna designs do come under the purview of this definition; one may automatically own the copyright to all original henna works, patterns, and photos.

When an artist creates an original Henna work, he will be the only person who can make derivatives of that art, if anybody else uses it without the artist’s permission, it will be considered as violation of copyright infringement.

Its protection under Designs Act

A Henna proprietor who has a business of henna stencils or henna sticker tattoo can get it registered under the Designs Act as it involves an industrial process. A henna artist on the other hand probably does not have much scope to get their designs registered under the Act.

Other IP

Other than designs, Henna proprietors must register their IP in the form of the brand, logo, packaging etc., there are several types of Mehndi Cones whose structure can be patented if it based on a novel concept and has utility, and all of them can be protected under Trademarks Act 1999 and Patents Act 1970.