Gorilla Motor Works becomes Wolf Brand Scooters following trademark battle
Gorilla Motor Works was just gaining momentum last year, importing new scooter models and recruiting fresh dealers to carry its product, when the company was stopped flat. GMW was hit with a trademark challenge that kept it embroiled in legal battles for about a year. Now the company, led by CEO Diana Hammer’s family, has reemerged with a new Wolf Brand Scooters name and a refreshed commitment to the scooter market.
The legal battle began in 2012 when an automotive company using the Gorilla name in California informed GMW of an intellectual property issue. The California company isn’t directly involved in the scooter segment, but it feels some of its products may overlap. The Hammers began fighting the name change, but finally decided to keep the issue out of court and move on with a new brand.
Wolf Brand Scooters was born this summer. Dealers and consumers had enjoyed the company’s previous branding, so the Hammer family wanted to keep the same type of look with an animal at the center.
“We didn’t want to lose our image or our brand per se,” she said. “We thought the wolf was very cool; it’s very American and strong and tough. We felt like we could really work around the cool factor of the wolf.”
Also key to the name was adding the word “scooters,” as it was missing from the former branding. The company is currently in the process of obtaining official trademark rights to Wolf Brand Scooters, which can take six months to a year, but with the research it has conducted over the new name, Hammer is confident the approval will come.
“There’s nobody else out there that has the trademark Wolf in powersports or scooters,” Hammer said. “We made sure we’re as safe as possible.”
Wolf Brand Scooters’ first model is the Blaze, a high-performing scooter available with a 50cc or 150cc engine.
“We wanted it to be really sporty and very cool,” Hammer said.
The Blaze features a MotoBatt battery, a Gates belt, LED lights, an LED tire air pressure sensing system, a performance 20mm carburetor and Duro tires. Each unit comes with one year of roadside assistance. The 50cc version has an MSRP of $1,599, while the 150cc sells for $1,699.
The vehicle was imported from the same Chinese factory the company used in the past, and it began distribution to dealerships in mid-August. Throughout its transition, Wolf Brand Scooters has retained all of the approximately 60 GMW dealers.
“We treat our dealers like friends, so it means a lot to us that they’re supportive and didn’t really blink or flinch at the name change,” Hammer said.
And now that the new branding has launched, Wolf is looking to increase its network, which mostly consists of small mom and pop scooter stores but also includes some metric franchise dealerships.
“We are definitely looking for new dealers in new territories. We have the supply to support dealer growth, lots of scooters and parts and lots of room for growth,” Hammer said.
Wolf Brand offers what is sees as superb customer service, recognizing most of its dealers by name and keeping a strong parts supply in its 5,000-square-foot warehouse in Clearwater, Fla.
“We stock everything here. Anything that comes on the scooter is kept in inventory and then some — not just warranty items, but wholesale parts distribution. All of our dealers buy parts from us, so we stock a huge surplus of parts,” Hammer said.
With the trademark issue, Hammer’s company’s growth was brought to a halt, but Wolf is ready to move forward. In October, Wolf Brand will attend the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), giving away a Blaze model to one dealer. The company is also revamping its
QualityScooterParts.com website, which should be completed by October, and Wolf plans to have more models available by the end of the year.
Though Hammer admits that legal woes caused dealer growth to slow and is leading the company to have to regain recognition, some of the rebranding work that had to be completed allowed the company to improve and refocus.
“We’re definitely really happy to get passed that. We feel like it’s really revitalizing. We got to look at our company and what we can do new,” Hammer said. “We felt like it kind of gave us a push; you have to reinvent yourself and come out with something, so everyone’s happy with this name change.”