Tennant Drops Appeal Of Lost Lawsuit

Tennant Drops Appeal Of Lost Lawsuit

About three months after a German court ruled against Tennant in an advertising lawsuit, the Minnesota company said it has withdrawn its appeal for “purely commercial reasons.”

Tennant Company recently announced it is withdrawing its appeal of a June court decision in which it lost a lawsuit regarding the wording used in its advertisements.
German competitor Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Company sued the Golden Valley-based cleaning equipment provider in 2011, claiming that Tennant’s advertising for its ec-H2O technology was misleading.
Tennant claims that its ec-H2O technology, a chemical-free cleaning solution, electrically converts ordinary tap water into a detergent that cleans effectively, saves money, and reduces environmental impact compared to traditional floor-cleaning chemicals.

Kärcher, however, disputed specific wording used by Tennant that the technology converts water into a “superior cleaning solution” that “outperforms” many conventional chemicals.

A German court sided with Kärcher and ruled that chemical cleaning products were more effective than Tennant’s water-based solution and that, as a result, Tennant’s advertisements were misleading and must change.
At the time of the decision, Tennant said that it believed the testing evidence presented in the case was “seriously flawed,” and as a result the company would likely appeal the decision.
“Tennant Company has not altered its position that the decision of the German court is, respectfully, based on incomplete and inaccurate information,” Heidi Wilson, Tennant general counsel and secretary, said in a recent statement. “The withdrawal is for purely commercial reasons as the case was primarily about advertising claims that are no longer being used by Tennant.”
Tennant’s original decision to appeal the case was based on its opinion that the tests used to discredit its advertising claims had little or no correlation to the real-world operation of its technology.
“The first test had no applicability to Tennant’s ec-H2O chemical-free technology as the test is typically used to measure properties in traditional chemical cleaners,” Wilson said. “The second bench test, which involved a soil of concentrated fats, has little correlation to cleaning with any scrubber-dryer, regardless of the cleaning solution being used.”
Tennant said it stands by the ec-H2O technology and is confident its clients will remain loyal.

“Tennant customers who have chosen to effectively clean their facilities with reduced chemical usage are satisfied with the performance of ec-H2O,” President and CEO Chris Killingstad said in a statement.

Tennant introduced its ec-H2O technology in 2008, and it is now the company’s highest-grossing product. Sales of its scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O technology increased from $17 million in 2008 to $141 million in 2012, with about $444 million in cumulative sales since the company released the product.

Supervalu, Kroger, Whole Foods, and IKEA are among Tennant’s customers that use the ec-H2O scrubber, a company spokesperson told Twin Cities Business in June. Tennant is among Minnesota’s 35 largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $739 million in 2012.