Edward Joseph Michael, 73, a retired patent lawyer who had 47 years of government service, died Sunday at Washington Hospital Center after a brief illness.

Mr. Michael was born in Jordan, Minn., and attended the University of Minnesota, where he graduated in 1925 with a bachelor of science in civil engineering.

He came to Washington and worked as a civil engineer in the Bureau of Standards. In 1926 he joined the U.S. Patent Office.

Mr. Michael secured a leave of absence from the Patent Office in order to attend the Washington College of Law, where he received a law degree in 1930.

He remained with the Patent Office as a senior patent lawyer for over 42 years, and became an authority in heat and refrigeration controls. He retired in 1972, and then worked for several years as a private consultant.

A member of the Holy Name Society, Mr. Michael is survived by his wife, Lucene, of the home in Washington; three daughters, Marian Michael, Kathryn Argauer, and Patricia Murphy, all of the Washington area; four brothers, Clementine Michael, Leo Michael, Cyril Michael and John Michael, all of Minneapolis; three sisters, Rose Swenson, Frances vonBank, and Helen Gerald, all of Minneapolis; and 10 granchildren.