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Williamsburg patent lawyer charged with UPL

A Williamsburg grand jury has returned an indictment charging patent attorney Bambi Walters with practicing law without a license, according to the local prosecutor.

Williamsburg/James City County Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green said the charge resulted from a Virginia State Bar investigation. VSB Counsel Ned Davis confirmed his office had turned over results of its investigation to the local authorities.

Walters is an attorney registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but she does not hold a Virginia law license, according to officials at the VSB. Her website indicates she practices in patent, trademark and related areas. “We have worked with many nonprofit organizations and associations,” her website also reads.

Green declined to provide details of the UPL charge, but he said the indictment covers an entire year, from Nov. 17, 2009, to Nov. 16, 2010. “We believe she was practicing law during that time,” he said.

Virginia law bars federally licensed patent attorneys without Virginia licenses from appearing “in any court or tribunal” other than those of the U.S. Patent Office. A Virginia Supreme Court rule bars patent lawyers from holding themselves out as authorized to practice law generally.

The charge of unauthorized practice of law is a class 1 misdemeanor. “Once she is served, a trial date will be set,” Green said.

-By Peter Vieth

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