Walter Judge practices law in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine where he represents businesses in commercial litigation
and intellectual property litigation
(copyright, trademark, trade secrets, computer and Internet). He also represents retail and other establishments (both insured and self-insured) in liability claims
, having handled dozens of these cases in the last two decades, and tried ten of them to defendant’s verdicts. In the last five years alone, Walter has tried and won five defendant's verdicts in retailer and trucking cases.
He also defends a large trucking company with claims in several states and obtained a defendant's verdict in a trucking liability case in 2011. In his product liability
practice, he has defended manufacturers of automobiles, food products, toy and recreation equipment, construction materials and consumer goods. Walter also represents businesses in consumer fraud claims brought by the state and private parties. He has conducted trials and appeals in both state and federal courts, as well as mediations and arbitrations.
Walter also focuses on insurance coverage issues, especially in the area of coverage for intellectual property infringement
- In June, 2012, Walter tried a supermarket liability case in which the plaintiff claimed serious, permanent brain injury and asked the jury for $3.4 Million in damages. The jury returned a verdict for just $137,000.
- In February 2011, Walter obtained a defendant's verdict for a trash hauling company in a case in which someone was injured by one of their trucks. The jury found the plaintiff 70% comparatively negligent and denied him recovery. This verdict was affirmed by the Vermont Supreme Court on appeal.
- In January 2010, Walter obtained another defendant’s verdict for a supermarket. In that case, a customer tripped over a box of produce waiting to be stocked, under a display stand. The jury agreed that the customer was more negligent than the store.
- In January 2009, Walter obtained another defendant's verdict for a supermarket. On a damp day in the middle of summer in 2006, the elderly plaintiff wearing wet shoes slipped in the vestibule of the store and broke her hip. The jury deliberated for just under four hours before returning a verdict for Walter's client.
- In October 2008, Walter obtained another defendant's verdict for a supermarket. An elderly woman slipped and fell inside the store and broke her shoulder. The jury delivered a verdict in Walter's client's favor less than 15 minutes after retiring to deliberate.
- In 1994, Walter, working with senior litigation partner Robert Rachlin, went to federal court and obtained the largest verdict in Vermont Federal Court history ($25 million) for his client, a small Vermont software design company, against a large California-based software maker that had hired away his client’s chief software designer and incorporated the client’s software trade secrets into a competing product.
- More recently, Walter went to federal court and stopped a client’s former employee and that former employee’s new employer, a European-based competitor of Walter’s client, from using the client’s trade secrets. The lawsuit resulted in damages paid to Walter’s client, as well as an injunction against the employee from competing and against the competitor from releasing competing products. Walter has worked on numerous other matters defending his clients’ intellectual property rights against infringement.
Walter served for six years (2006-12) as an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School, where he taught the trade secrets section in an introductory course on intellectual property. In addition, he chaired the Vermont Bar Association Insurance Law Committee and was a co-presenter on the topic of "Recent Developments in Vermont Tort, Insurance and Worker's Compensation Law" at the 130th, 131st and 132nd VBA Annual Meetings held in September 2008 - 2010. He is also a member of the VBA’s Intellectual Property Committee, and co-presented a Trade Secrets seminar in 2012 at the VBA mid-year meeting. Walter has frequently lectured on the topic of trade secrets misappropriation.
In 2008 and 2010, Walter was elected by his peers in the Vermont Bar Association to serve two consecutive two-year terms on the Vermont Judicial Nominating Board. The Board - which includes attorneys elected by the Bar, members of the public appointed by the governor and members of the legislature appointed by the House and Senate leadership - screens and makes nominations to the governor to fill judicial vacancies in the state.
Walter also is a founding member and now serves as an advisory member of the Tri-State Defense Lawyers Association (TDLA), a professional organization for defense counsel practicing in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and an affiliate organization of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), whose membership includes more than 20,000 attorneys committed to the defense of civil litigation claims. Walter is a past Vermont representative to DRI.
Walter is a frequent contributor to DRM’s intellectual property blog, The IP Stone
. Walter’s October, 2012 blog posting on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
was one of 2012’s top ten most viewed legal blog postings, in any area of the law. Walter’s blog is listed on the law blog directories of the ABA and DRI, and other directories
Based on in-depth interviews with clients and peers, Chambers USA 2013: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
selected Walter for recognition as one of Vermont's leading lawyers in the area of general commercial litigation. He is also recognized in New England Super Lawyers®
lists 2010-2013 for his work in the areas of intellectual property litigation, civil litigation defense and personal injury defense: general. In 2012 Walter was the only Vermont attorney selected to the New England Super Lawyers®
list in the intellectual property litigation category. In addition, he was selected for membership in the International Association of Defense Counsel. Established in 1920, the IADC serves approximately 2500 invitation-only, peer-reviewed member attorneys with advanced skills and practice representing corporations and insurers in defense law.
Walter is a 1997 graduate of the Leadership Champlain program, a training and development program for future community leaders in Vermont. He is a past member of the Concord Academy (Mass.) Alumni Council. Active in local affairs in his town - Charlotte, Vt., he is also an officer of his neighborhood association. Walter served for a number of years on the board of the Vermont Alliance for Arts Education, a non-profit advocacy group that promoted arts education in Vermont schools and the continuing education of art teachers.
Walter is one of the primary authors of DRM’s blog, The IP Stone: Deciphering Intellectual Property Law for Business
. Walter's posts include:
Copyrights: Did Avatar Rip Off Bats and Butterflies? California Court Says No.
December 19, 2012.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act | Did the Ninth Circuit Blow It?
, October 2,2012
Social Networks and Trade Secret Misappropriation: Can your company’s “friends” list be a trade secret?
, August 1, 2012
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Protecting Your Company When High-Level Employees Depart
, April 1, 2012
Loose Lips Sink More Than Ships: So, How Much “Secrecy” Is Required To Protect Trade Secrets?
, February 20, 2012
Protecting Trade Secrets | Eight Questions Businesses Need to Ask and Answer
, January 12, 2012
Walter has authored numerous articles, papers and book chapters, including:
Contributor, Trade Secrets: A State-By-State Survey
, 4th Ed., American Bar Assoc./BNA, 2012
Contributor, Tortious Interference in Employment: A State-By-State Survey
, 3d Ed., American Bar Association/BNA, 2012
Contributor, Covenants Not To Compete: A State-By-State Survey
, 8th Ed., American Bar Association/BNA, 2012
Contributor, Employee Duty of Loyalty: A State-By-State Survey
, 4th Ed., American Bar Association/BNA, 2012
Contributor, DRI Product Liability Compendium: Warnings, Instructions, and Recalls
, Defense Research Institute, 2012
Contributor, State Trademark and Unfair Competition Law, Release #47
, International Trademark Association, 2012
Contributor, Lex Mundi Intellectual Property World Desk Reference
Co-author, History Sniffing: Updates On Current Litigation, Bloomberg Law Reports
, November 14, 2011
Vermont Superior Court Decides A Number Of Issues Of First Impression In Vermont Insurance And Practice Law, Tri-State Defense Lawyers Association Newsletter
, Summer 2011
Co-author, History Sniffing, Bloomberg Law Reports
, March 7, 2011
Author, Vermont Bar Association Year in Review
(2009) – Developments in Insurance Law
, May 2010
Contributor, Trade Secrets: A State-by-State Compendium,
Defense Research Institute, 2008
Contributor, Non-Compete Agreements: A State-by-State Compendium,
Defense Research Institute, 2008
Contributor, Products Liability Law: A State-by-State
Compendium, Defense Research Institute, 2007
Intellectual Property Editor, The Business Suit
(commercial litigation journal of the Defense Research Institute)
Co-Author, The Economic Loss Rule, For The Defense,
Defense Research Institute, March 2003
Trade Secrets, Vermont Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting, March 2012
Protecting Technology: Patent and Trade Secret Basics, North Country Chamber of Commerce, Plattsburgh, N.Y., January 2012
Trade Secrets: How to Protect Your Valuable Commercial Information, DRM Briefly Speaking
Intellectual Property Law Seminar Series, April 2011
Underwood v. Risman, 414 Mass. 96, 605 N.E.2d 832 (Mass. 1993) (lead paint/landlord-tenant/consumer protection)
Vermont Microsystems, Inc. v. Autodesk, Inc., 88 F.3d 142 (2d Cir. 1996) (trade secrets/computer software)
White v. Quechee Lakes Landowners Association, Inc., 170 Vt. 25, 742 A.2d 734 (Vermont 1999) (indemnification/product liability)
McKinnon v. F.H. Morgan & Co., Inc., 170 Vt. 422, 750 A.2d 1026 (Vermont 2000) (choice-of-law/product liability)
Smith & Croyle, LLC v. Ridgewood Power Corporation, 111 F.Supp.2d 77 (D. Mass. 2000) (contract/fraud/consumer protection)
Macia v. Microsoft Corporation, et al., 152 F.Supp.2d 535 (D. Vt. 2001) (trademark infringement)
Pcolar v. Casella Waste Systems, Inc., 2012 VT 58 (Vermont Supreme Court 2012) (personal injury/trucking/negligence)