Leo J. Paulin, 73, the former owner and publisher of the Advertiser newspapers in Montgomery County and a former chairman of the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners, died at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda Nov. 12 following a heart attack.

Mr. Paulin, who was born in Canada and reared in Rumford, Maine, first moved to the Washington area in 1931. He worked for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company and then the Commerce Department and attended National University Law School. In 1938, he moved to New York City, where he worked in advertising.

In the early 1940s, he returned here and started his own public relations firm. In 1951, he founded the Advertiser newspapers, which appeared weekly. In 1962, he was named "Outstanding Publisher of the Year" by the Accredited Home Newspaper Association of America.

In 1969, Mr. Paulin sold the newspapers and founded Media Features, a public relations and advertising consulting firm, which he operated until his death. He also invented a golf putter and organized The Putting Professor Ltd. to market it.

Mr. Paulin, who lived in Bethesda, was a county license commissioner for 14 years until his retirement this year.

He was a past president of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Kensington-Wheaton chambers of commerce and of Camp Echo Lake, a facility for underprivileged children. He also was a founder of the American Public Relations Association. He was a member of the Advertising and National Press clubs and had been active in Republican Party affairs.

Survivors include his wife, Phyllis J., to whom he was married for 50 years, and a daughter, Joan P. David, both of Bethesda, and four sisters, Hilda Carrier, Bertha Ellsworth and May Cota, all of Maine, and Stella Tarbell of Massachusetts.