You can patent an invention worldwide, but unfortunately not with a single application!
You have to file a patent application in every country in which you want patent rights.
However: A range of countries (more than 130) subscribe to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). By filing a PCT Application within 12 months of your first patent application (whether provisional or complete), you can extend the filing date for separate national patent applications by 18 months.
This gives you extra time to:
Note the Steps: How to Get a Patent before filing your application.
You must either be a resident or a national of a country which is a member of the PCT to file through the PCT.
You will not have PCT protection in a country which is not a member (e.g. Taiwan currently). In a non-member country you will not have the 18 month PCT extension period and will have to file a national application in that country, normally within one year of your first filing.
It can be costly to file a PCT application, but a positive examination report from the PCT can make future filings in separate countries (where you want to get a patent) easier.
Click on this link for the PCT Applicant's Guide
You can find links to the patent offices in various countries on our Intellectual Property Resources page.
Before making any decisions about a PCT application or international filing, you should consult with a patent attorney in your home country for advice on the best way to proceed.