Company sues IAAF, USATF for banning 'spring technology'

Updated: April 9, 2007, 7:09 PM ET
Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas -- A footwear company sued two track-and-field federations Monday, contending its running shoes were banned because of technological innovations.

Spira Footwear filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the International Association of Athletics Federations and USA Track & Field.

The El Paso company alleges that rules banning assisted devices, including springs, violate federal restraint of trade and antitrust laws.

Spira Footwear said it believes the rules constitute a ban on shoes using its patented WaveSpring technology. No specific action has been taken by the IAAF and USATF against Spira Footwear.

The lawsuit contends the rules prevent Spira from gaining acceptance in the marketplace because most elite runners won't wear the shoes for fear of disqualification.

USATF was unaware of the lawsuit and had no further comment, spokeswoman Jill Geer said. The company said seven runners will wear its shoes at the Boston Marathon on April 16.

The IAAF has a procedure that allows shoes to be submitted for approval. Spira's chief executive officer, Andy Krafsur, said his company submitted shoes to the international federation last September.

The IAAF informed the company this week it would be "some time" before a decision is reached, Krafsur said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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