Green Apple Cleaners: Cleaning Clothes with Clean Technology


A recent Matter Network story about a New York dry cleaning business caught my attention.  Green Apple Cleaners (Green Apple), which has two locations in Manhattan and a third in Mahwah, New Jersey, uses environmentally-friendly Solvair Cleaning Systems to launder its clients’ clothes. 

The Solvair Cleaning System is owned by Illinois textile cleaning technology company R.R. Street & Co. (RRS) and covered by a family of RRS patents directed to cleaning systems using organic cleaning solvents and a pressurized fluid solvent. 

In the process disclosed by U.S. Patent Nos. 6,355,072, 6,736,859, 6,755,871 and 7,147,670, clothes are cleaned by an organic cleaning solvent in a perforated drum contained within a cleaning vessel, and the used solvent is extracted by rotating the drum at high speed.  The process then departs from conventional cleaning methods by removing residual solvent with a pressurized fluid instead of using an evaporative hot air drying cycle.

This is made possible because the organic cleaning solvent is soluble in the pressurized liquid solvent.  The pressurized fluid solvent is then transferred from the drum, and the vessel is de-pressurized so any remaining pressurized fluid solvent evaporates.  According to the patents, the result is less damage to both the clothes and the environment.

Green Apple also owns a federal registration for the GREEN APPLE CLEANERS mark (greenapplereg.pdf).  Interestingly, Green Apple’s eco-mark sailed through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) in just eight months, avoiding the problems faced by other eco-marks such as GREEN BRANCH .

Presumably, the PTO did not find GREEN APPLE CLEANERS merely descriptive of environmentally-friendly cleaning services because of the presence of the “APPLE” element in the mark.  This offers one lesson for applicants seeking federal registrations for eco-marks containing such eco-descriptive terms as GREEN or CLEAN:  add a non-descriptive, arbitrary word to your mark to spice things up and improve your chances of success in the PTO.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.