Green Patent Acquisitions: Ecover Buys Method’s Green Cleaning Tech and Business


Method is a San Francisco company that makes green cleaning products.  Recently, the company’s Belgian competitor, Ecover, acquired Method in a deal that would create the world’s largest pure play green home cleaning company (see Greenbiz article here).

Method has a diverse IP portfolio which includes at least seven utility patents and applications, over 40 trademark applications and registrations, and at least 15 design patent applications.

More particularly, Method owns U.S. Patent Application Publication Nos. 2010/0093595 and 2010/0299846, entitled “Liquid cleaning compositions” (Cleaning Compositions Applications) and directed to cleaning compositions comprising a surfactant system, a certain percentage of water, a solvent system, and an enzyme.  The cleaning compositions are in a form of continuous phase and provide improved cleaning efficacy with lower active doses of cleaning ingredients. 

According to the Cleaning Compositions Applications, the invention can be used in highly concentrated form and thus provides advantages such as the need for less packaging and reduced energy consumption in shipping and lower volume of active ingredients to dispose of:

[E]mbodiments of the cleaning compositions . . . provide several advantages over known compositions, including but not limited to the ability to create an efficacious cleaning composition in a highly concentrated form (e.g., 4x, preferably 5x, more preferably 6x concentrates), thereby minimizing packaging requirements and energy consumption for packaging and shipping; lower quanitities of actives are required per washload, reducing the cost of the products, as well as minimizing the amount of cleaning activities added to sewer and septic systems and the environment; less packaging to recycle or add to landfills; etc.

As to green brands, Method owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,078,271 for the mark POWERGREEN for a variety of cleaning preparations in Class 3.

Method’s design patents include D522,372, D541,661, D614,032 and D619,008 (‘008 Patent), which protect various bottle designs such as this one of the ‘008 Patent:

According to the Greenbiz article, the partnership will provide each company access to new geographic markets and technical information such as Method’s developments in green solvents and Ecover’s biosynthetic surfactants.

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.