Bajaj reportedly bought intellectual property rights to defunct US-based premium motorcycle brand
Bajaj Auto filed a second trademark for Excelsior-Henderson with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on December 15, 2020 in the clothing category which includes clothing and riding equipment. It is noteworthy that earlier in 2018, the Indian two-wheeler major filed a trademark for the aforementioned brand under the motorcycle design course which covers vehicles, spare parts and service.
Excelsior-Henderson – A Brief History
Excelsior-Henderson is an old two-wheeler brand that ceased to exist in its original form in 1931 during the Great Depression. Its origins can be traced back to an entity founded in 1876 under the Excelsior Supply Company banner as a manufacturer of cycles and spare parts.
As it entered the new century, the Chicago-based company began making motorcycles, and in 1912 an Excelsior became the first motorcycle in the world be officially timed at 100 mph (160 km / h). In the same year, Excelsior was purchased by another Chicago-based cycle maker, Schwinn, which also purchased Henderson Motorcycles in 1917 and merged the two subsidiaries.
As the Great Depression was to continue for several years, Schwinn abruptly shut down Excelsior-Henderson’s motorcycle division in 1931 despite a full order book and focused on the core business of bicycles. After several decades, in 1993, Hanlon Manufacturing Company relaunched the Excelsior-Henderson brand with its base in Minnesota.
The first production model of the new era was called Super X, in homage to the history of the company at the beginning of the 20th century. Production started in 1999 with a classic retro style. In 1999 and 2000, the company produced a total of approximately 1,950 units before failing to secure additional funds to continue operations.
Although Excelsior-Henderson ceased to exist as a motorcycle supplier, the company still exists and has intellectual properties. The Trademark Office photo confirms that Bajaj Auto bought the intellectual property rights to the mark.
As other Indian two-wheeler OEMs try to relaunch old motorcycle brands as a gateway to international markets, Bajaj Auto could also work on a similar strategy with Excelsior-Henderson. For example, TVS Motor Co recently bought UK brand Norton, and Classic Ledgends, backed by Mahindra, has relaunched Jawa and is also said to be working to bring Yezdi back to center stage.
It’s too early to speculate on what the trademark filings ultimately lead to, but it would be exciting to see Bajaj create Excelsio-Henderson as a boutique motorcycle brand with exquisite designs and limited production runs.