Joseph M. Lafata ( Joe )

Principal / Detroit Metro Office

Joe works with domestic and international companies to identify, protect, optimize, and monetize their IP portfolios. He develops and manages complex patent and trademark strategies in the United States and internationally. Appreciated for his honesty and easy-going communication style, Joe pays considerable attention to delivering what his clients need by taking the time to truly listen to their specific goals. As a result, businesses repeatedly turn to Joe because he consistently delivers workable legal and practical business solutions to even the most complicated IP challenges.

Joe creates corporate IP policies and programs; develops patent and trademark filing strategies; designs and enforces trade secret protection initiatives; creates comprehensive IP infringement and validity analyses for pre-litigation investigations and litigation proceedings; conducts audits and prepares opinions concerning patent infringement, enforceability and validity; and negotiates and drafts agreements for domestic and international patent and trademark properties and portfolios, technology transfer, and other IP rights. In his third decade of practice, Joe has successfully prosecuted thousands of patent and trademark applications domestically and internationally. His experience with the USPTO includes petitions, appeals, protests, and reissues.

Joe is personally dedicated to his clients. He takes their needs, the advice he renders and the results that are achieved very seriously. His laid-back demeanor is supported by highly evolved and precise technical writing skills, honed over years of practice. Joe’s clients value his exceptional technological competence and natural ability to seamlessly meld with the diverse personalities of executives, in-house counsel, and inventors alike. Joe is flexible and able to quickly analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the situation at hand, as well as adjust his approach as needed. 

Joe’s clients represent a wide range of companies involved the electrical, electromechanical and mechanical arts. He offers in-depth technical know-how regarding a diverse range of technologies, such as telecommunications, digital and analog circuitry, power generation, power regulation, computer software, turf care equipment, and passenger and utility vehicles and applications, among others.

Prior to pursuing law school, Joe had several years of experience in industry as an applications specialist in the natural gas transmission industry and later as an automotive engineer designing engine control circuits and software. This experience has proved invaluable to understanding the challenges that his clients encounter on a daily basis.


  • Best Lawyers, Patent Law, 2021-2024
  • Leading Lawyers, named a “Leading Lawyer” for Patent Law, Copyright & Trademark Law, and Intellectual Property Law, 2018-2021


  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Michigan Bar Association, Computer Law Section
  • Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association



J.D., University of Michigan, 1992

B.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering, cum laude, University of Michigan, 1986

Bar & Court Admissions


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Eastern District of Michigan