There is generally no such thing as a world-wide patent. However a system called the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) allows for applications to be made to an international bureau in Geneva Switzerland organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
PCT applications are an excellent tool to delay costs and decisions regarding patent applications for inventors. Effectively, under the PCT system you don’t have to file your international jurisdictional applications for an additional 30 months.
Also, WIPO can complete an international based search of your patent application and report back with their findings. You have an opportunity to correct and fix the claims prior to having multiple applications in lots of countries. The system makes it much easier and cheaper to answer and address the prior art rather than waiting for national phase entry.
PCT applications are very complex and the deadlines for making certain actions are very tightly regulated. You are highly recommended to discuss your invention with a trained and qualified Patent Attorney before above filing one of these applications.
Also you need to check whether a PCT application is suitable for your business’s needs. Alder IP regularly provide advice on PCT applications and assists inventors to meet their obligations under the system.