Joseph F. Hetz

"I understand where the true value of a patent lies and prosecute with that in mind.”

For over 20 years, Joe Hetz has represented clients of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, and has prosecuted over 2,500 patent applications. Joe is known for his creative, value-added approach to helping clients develop portfolios that can be monetized or otherwise used to satisfy strategic needs, all while meeting budget. His patents have gained national media attention for their broad scope and have generated millions of dollars in licensing fees.

Joe focuses his practice on patent prosecution with a technical concentration in memory devices, portable media players, computer systems and peripherals, digital cameras and printers, industrial sensors, communications systems, encryption technology, and Internet/e-commerce/business method inventions. In addition to prosecution before the U.S. and international patent offices, Joe has been involved in re-examination, re-issue, and inter partes review (IPR) proceedings and is one of a handful of patent attorneys to have ever been involved in a public use proceeding.

Joe has been recognized by his peers and clients as a leader in his field, being named a “Super Lawyer,” a “Leading Lawyer,” one of the world’s top 1,000 patent practitioners by Intellectual Asset Management magazine, and an attorney with notable experience in reexamination, reissue, and IPR proceedings by The Legal 500. In addition, Joe was appointed as an adjunct professor of patent prosecution, most recently at Northwestern University School of Law. Joe has also served on the Firm's Board of Directors for several years.

  • J.D.,
    University of Michigan Law School, 1996
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, with Distinction and Departmental Honors
    Northwestern University, 1993
Bar Admissions
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Dist. Court, N.D. Illinois
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Area of Focus
Technical Background
  • Analog Electronics
  • Business Methods
  • Digital Electronics
  • Semiconductors
  • Software
Experience | Legal

Brinks Gilson & Lione, Chicago, Illinois
Shareholder, January 2003-Present
Associate, September 1996 – December 2002
Summer Associate, Summer 1994 and 1995

Management Positions
Board of Directors, 2010-2011, 2014-2015, 2018
Executive Committee, 2010
Strategic Planning Committee, 2012-Present
Docket Oversight Committee, 1996-Present (Chair, 2003-2005)

Experience | Teaching

Northwestern University School of Law
Adjunct Professor of Law
Patent Prosecution, Spring 2010-Spring 2014

Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Adjunct Professor of Law
Patent Prosecution, Spring 2009 

Valparaiso University School of Law
Adjunct Professor of Law
Patent Prosecution, Fall 2007 and 2008

Representative Matters

Representative Contested Matters

  • Inter Partes Review (IPR) Nos. IPR2014-00411/434 (U.S. Patent Nos. 8,426,813 and 8,193,496) and IPR2015-00065 (U.S. Patent No. 8,426,813).  Represented Petitioner challenging patents directed to chemical leak inspection system and methods for performing inspections and detecting chemical leaks using an infrared camera system.
  • Director-Initiated Reexamination Nos. 90/006,633 and 90/006,634.  Represented Patent Owner against challenges by the Director of the USPTO on early patents covering Internet browsers.
  • Public Use Proceeding for Patent Application No. 08/746,360.  Represented Petitioner in a public use proceeding challenging a patent application directed to medical ultrasonic imaging using native tissue harmonics.
Press Releases & Events
July 13, 2017

CHICAGO—Intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione is a “top U.S. boutique” and a “Chicago IP stalwart” with “deep reservoirs of prosecution and litigation experience,” according to Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) ...

June 06, 2017

CHICAGO—Intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione has been recognized for the ninth year in a row as a top U.S. firm for patent prosecution, including for re-examination and post-grant proceedings, by The Legal 500 United States 2017...

February 09, 2017

CHICAGO—Twenty attorneys at intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione have been named to the 2017 ...

June 01, 2016

CHICAGO—National law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione is “at the top of the list” again this year for intellectual property according to IAM Patent 1000 2016—The World’s Leading Patent Professionals, Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine's guide to leading private practice patent professionals and firms.

January 12, 2016

CHICAGO—Twenty-two attorneys at intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione have been named to the 2016 ...

January 20, 2015
CHICAGO—Twenty-four attorneys at Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the nation's largest intellectual property law firms, are named to the 2015 Illinois Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers, a rating service that lists lawyers from more than ...
October 23, 2014
CHICAGO—Gary M. Ropski, a shareholder at intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione and the firm's past president, has been named the #1 Leading Intellectual Property Lawyer in Illinois by Leading Lawyers, and fifty-nine ...
June 16, 2014
CHICAGO— Each year, Intellectual Asset Management magazine's IAM Patent 1000—The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners spotlights best-in-class patent prosecution, licensing and litigation practitioners and firms, and this year ...
  • Leading Patent Practitioner, Intellectual Asset Management magazine's "IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners," 2014-2017
  • Leading Intellectual Property Lawyer, Leading Lawyers Network, Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2010-2017
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, Intellectual Property, 2009-2018; Rising Stars, 2009-2012
  • AIPLA (American Intellectual Property Law Association)
  • CARPLS (Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services) 
    Board of Directors, 2013-Present
  • IPLAC (Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago)
    Vice-Chair of the U.S. Patents Committee, 2012-2014
    Pro-Bono Steering Committee Representative, 2013-2014
  • IPO (Intellectual Property Owners Association)