Methyl 3-((2-mercaptophenyl)imino)butanoate (MMPB) was synthesized as inhibitor compound for copper protection. The molecule was designed with azole, thiol functional groups and carboxylate tail group. The inhibition efficiency was examined in acidic chloride media, by means of various electrochemical and spectroscopy techniques. Electrochemical study results showed that high efficiency of MMPB was mainly related with its capability of complex formation with Cu(I) at the surface. The thiol group also improves the adsorptive interaction with the surface, as the carboxylate groups provide extra intermolecular attraction. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.