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A week before he died, a prominent Washington, D.C., intellectual property attorney filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against his former firm, claiming that it continued to use his name to garner business in violation of federal law. James E. Armstrong III, former name partner of Armstrong, Kratz, Quintos, Hanson & Brooks, alleged in his Dec. 27 lawsuit that the current firm, Kratz, Quintos & Hanson, had been using the “Armstrong name” to influence clients to hire the firm and was operating in violation of a partnership agreement. Armstrong died Jan. 2 in Silver Spring, Md., after suffering flu-like symptoms. At the heart of the lawsuit are claims that his former K Street law firm violated the Lanham Trademark Act by misleading the public about an affiliation with him. According to Armstrong’s attorney, John Harmon, Armstrong’s estate will pursue the matter. His son is James E. Armstrong IV, a former partner in his father’s firm and now a partner with Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. Donald Hanson, a partner with Kratz Quintos & Hanson, declined to comment on the case, saying that he had not seen the lawsuit. Campbell Killefer, an attorney for Mel Quintos, a named defendant in the case, said that Armstrong’s death effectively puts the case “on ice.” However, Hanson said that the lawsuit ( Armstrong v. Kratz Quintos & Hanson, 1:07-CV-02333) will continuing moving forward. Armstrong filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Last month’s complaint follows another one filed against the firm by Armstrong in September in the District of Columbia Superior Court. That lawsuit alleges violations of state law related to the operations of the Kratz Quintos law firm. Specifically, Armstrong asserted in the federal suit that, until recently, the law firm displayed on its Web site images of departed attorneys and of Armstrong himself, although he established his own law office last summer. The Web site also described the firm as “formerly Armstrong, Kratz, Quintos, Hanson & Brooks,” without his permission, he charged. The firm’s Web site further claimed a founding date in 1970, although neither Hanson nor Quintos, joined the firm before the late 1980s, Armstrong alleged. According to the complaint, the law firm’s letterhead until recently designated a Tokyo office, although it did not have such a location. The Tokyo location, contended Armstrong, was entirely operated and funded by Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge, the law firm his son joined after leaving the Armstrong firm in July. Such representations, the lawsuit alleged, cost Armstrong between $1.5 million and $2.5 million in current and future business, particularly from Japanese clients. Armstrong was co-author of Essentials of Drafting U.S. Patent Specifications and Claims (Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation, 2002). Harmon is a partner with Coggins, Harman & Hewitt in Silver Spring, Md. Killefer, the attorney for Quintos, is a partner with Venable.

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