Pasquale J. Federico, 79, a Washington lawyer who worked for the U.S. Patent Office for more than 45 years before retiring from its board of appeals in 1970, died of cancer Saturday at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had lived in Washington since 1923.

He joined the Patent Office in 1923 as a junior examiner and worked his way through the ranks to the post of examiner-in-chief in 1947. In the early 1950s, he was a technical adviser to the chairman of the patent, trademark and copyright subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

He was an adviser to the State Department on patent law and was a delegate to the conference for the revision of the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in Lisbon in 1958.

Since 1970, he had been associated with the Washington patent law firm of Cushman, Darby & Cushman.

Mr. Federico was a 1949 recipient of the Commerce Department's Exceptional Service Award. He also had received awards from the New Jersey Patent Law Association and the American Institute of Chemists.

He was editor of the Journal of the Patent Office Society from 1935 to 1941 and taught courses in patent law at the George Washington University law school.

He was a member of the D.C. and American bar associations, the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the International Patent and Trademark Association.

Mr. Federico was born in Monessen, Pa., and reared in Cleveland. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics at the old Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, a master's degree in mathematics at George Washington University and a law degree at the Washington College of Law.

Survivors include his wife, Bianca Morse Federico of Washington; two daughters, Joan Kraft of Gaithersburg, and Patricia Highet of Bethesda; and two brothers, two sisters, and five grandchildren.