PCT stands for Prior Informed Consent. PCT abbreviated, from the Patent Cooperation Treaty. PCT is an International treaty, which provides facility to the applicant to file a single patent application and designate the countries in which he/she wants to protect his IP rights.
Thus a single patent application is filed for the purpose of an international search report and to claim the priority date in all the designated countries. After receiving the international examination report, the applicant has to file a request in each designated country to take on record his/her application and this is called national phase of a patent application.
A PCT application also provides an international filing date through a single patent application. India is a member country to PCT.
A patent in an exclusive right granted by a country to the owner of an invention to make, use, manufacture and market the invention, provided the invention satisfies certain conditions stipulated in the law. Exclusivity of right implies that no one else can make, use, manufacture or market the invention without the consent of the patent holder. This right is available only for a limited period of time. However, the use or exploitation of a patent may be affected by other laws of the country which has awarded the patent.
These laws may relate to health, safety, food, security etc. Further, existing patents in similar area may also come in the way. A patent in the law is a property right and hence, can be gifted, inherited, assigned, sold or licensed. As the right is conferred by the State, it can be revoked by the State under very special circumstances even if the patent has been sold or licensed or manufactured or marketed in the meantime. The patent right is territorial in nature and inventors/their assignees will have to file separate patent applications in countries of their interest, along with necessary fees, for obtaining patents in those countries.