North Dakota sports training company files lawsuit

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Associated Press

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota sports training company says a Kentucky fitness center violated terms of a franchise agreement and should stop using the workout system and equipment.

Acceleration Products Inc., or API, which was founded in Bismarck more than two decades ago, operates performance training centers under the names "Athletic Republic" and "Frappier Acceleration." It has about 50 franchises, mostly in the United States.

A lawsuit filed by API in federal court accuses Hoops Basketball Academy LLC of marketing the system as belonging to "Acceleration and Fitness Elite" or "Acceleration Elite." The Louisville center displayed API's trademarked and copyrighted name, logo, slogans and marketing materials as though they originated from "Acceleration Elite," API says.

The suit filed last week notes that the Hoops website asks, "Want to run faster? Jump higher? Have more explosiveness? Then Acceleration Elite is the place for you!"

API is seeking a permanent injunction to stop Hoops from using the system and asks for money from royalties and marketing fees, and other unspecified damages.

"Due to defendants' deceptive practices, customers are likely to be induced to purchase sports training and health fitness related services from defendants in the belief that those goods or services are those of API and its franchises," the lawsuit says.

Court documents do not list an attorney for the defendants. Bobby Green, the general manager for the Louisville fitness center, told The Associated Press that the lawsuit involves previous owners of the fitness center.

The system was developed by Bismarck physical therapist John Frappier in the mid-1980s. Frappier started devising new ways to train and new machines to push athletes safely beyond their physiological limits, the company's website says.

"The first was the Super Running Treadmill, that was quickly followed by the patented Hockey Treadmill, the innovative Plyopress, contrast training cords designed to provide resistance to key muscle groups at game speed velocities, and plyometric platforms designed to improve fundamental movement skills, explosive power and agility," the site says.

The lawsuit asks Hoops to return the resistance cords.

API says Hoops failed to pay about $66,000 in royalties and marketing fees from the first quarter of 2009 until API terminated the franchise agreement in April 2014. The defendants failed to provide financial statements from that time period, the complaint states.

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Follow Dave Kolpack on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKolpackAP

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