Names that must have seemed like terrific ideas in their languages of origin:
1. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'm guessing that in the original Italian, Milldue is a contraction of mille due, which means "one thousand two." The Italian pronunciation of the brand would be meel-DOO-eh. Unfortunately, this manufacturer of expensive bathroom fixtures--I repeat, bathroom fixtures--now sells its wares in English-speaking countries, where the pronunciation is likely to rhyme with "ill poo" and the association with unwelcome greenery (note sponsored links) is not a big image-booster. (Hat tip to Going Like Sixty.)
2. Our Italian comrades have also given us a kitchen-appliance company with the unfortunate name of Smeg. A U.S. distributor helpfully tells us that the name "is an acronym for Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalia"--translated, "an enamelling factory in the village of Guastalia in the province of Emilia in Northern Italy." Smeg's products are stylish: check out these '50s-design refrigerators, which are cute, petite (9.22 cubic feet), and pricey (about $2,000). But oh, that name. There's just no way around the association with genital secretions. In the kitchen. Ick.
3. Apparently Incesoft, a robot manufacturer based in Shanghai, based the first half of its name on the acronym for Infinity Nature Communication Experience. But like The Name Inspector I can't help seeing "inappropriate intrafamilial contact" there. On the other hand, I was charmed by the earnestness of this awkwardly Englished product description: Online Robots Union is trying to be a good robot platform for company's and individual's robots. Company and individual developers can submit their robots here, share your ideas and enjoy funs. Here is also a good marketing platform for your products and services.
4. Anyone up on his or her Black Death lore knows what a bubo is: a swollen inflamed lymph node, especially in the groin or armpit. (From Greek boubon, meaning groin or swollen groin.) The adjectival form is bubonic, as in bubonic plague. In Latin, however, bubo means owl, which is what gave someone in California's wine country the bright idea of naming a winery Bubo Cellars.
Jessica Stone Levy, a trademark lawyer who blogs at Beauty Marks, reports that she "happened upon a bottle of Bubo Pinot Grigio today, and recoiled in horror." Jessica writes: "Listen, your product name can have a suggestive and evocative meaning in a dead language, and on that basis make a great trademark, but that's all worth nothing if the mark means something completely disgusting in English."