Did the founders of these businesses neglect to do a quick Google search before setting their names in legal stone, or did they hope to capitalize on the intimidation factor of naming their companies after sinister fictional corporations?
Here are eight examples of questionable trade name choices:
Imaginary: Multinational corporation headquartered in New Troy, Metropolis
Lexcorp boasts holdings in the aerospace, petroleum, media, robotics, real estate and defense industries. If you’ve ever been to Metropolis, you may have noticed the 96-story building malevolently looming over the downtown skyline. Lexcorp’s agressive campaign of global acquisitions, combined with their massive private security force have raised an eyebrow or two amongst corporate watchdogs. Those eyebrows are usually lowered rather quickly by killer robots from the Luthor Research subsidiary.
Real: Marketing firm headquartered in Brampton, Ontario
Everything seems to be in order with these Canadian ad men. There is, however, the ominous claim in the Services portion of the website which reads: Lexcorp Media also provides Brand Policing services to make sure that your company’s image is not tampered with or defaced by accident.
Hear that, would-be plagiarizers? Team Luthor is watching you!
Imaginary: Software company headquartered in Austin, Texas
One of the primary vendors of Y2K switchover protection for the financial industry. Also a soul-crushing cubical farm overrun by petty, passive-aggressive middle management. Initech’s headquarters was destroyed in a 1999 fire around the same time that irregularities in their transaction software logic were discovered by several banking clients. Needless to say, their customers quickly flocked to their primary competitor, Intertrode, en masse. The company filed Chapter 11 in the month proceeding the fire, and Initech Project Manager William Lumbergh is still under federal investigation regarding over $300,000 in missing funds.
Real: Software company headquartered in Saddle Brook, NJ
Bizarrely enough, this company is completely in on the joke. A technical support link on the front page directs you to an employee named Michael Bolton, and their contact field is referred to as a TPS form. They even directly (legally?) lifted their logo from the Initech of Office Space!
Imaginary: Biotechnology megacorp headquartered in Los Angeles, California
Dr. Eldon Tyrell runs this revolutionary genetic engineering firm from a 700-story building in the megopolis of 2019 Los Angeles. Or we should say, he will have run it until his head will have been crushed by a result of his highly questionable scientific ethics which shall have backfired on him. This will not have been an evil megacorporation per se, but the scientific ethical standards which will have made way for its enormous success will have had to be highly questionable, or entirely absent. Man… conjugating the future is hard.
Real: Music hardware manufacturer headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona
This company’s tagline is Products From the Future. How many bleeding edge technological wonders are born out of Tyrell’s advanced development labs, you ask? Just one: The JukeMaster 100 Vintage Tabletop Jukebox. An old-timey record player like the ones seen in diners from the 50′s. Oh, and they also make super-powered genetically engineered slave soldiers. Wait… sorry… no, that’s wrong. No, just the old-timey jukebox.
Imaginary: Electronics Company headquartered in Silicon Valley
At first glance this seems like quite a philanthropic outfit. After all, they work closely with a the local prison to help place recent parolees on the Comtron security staff. Unfortunately, the company’s executive staff was infiltrated by embezzlers bent on stealing valuable technology. A run-in with a talking 1982 Trans-Am blew the lid off of the entire operation. Pro tip – it only takes 600 pounds of pressure to eject from a bucket seat on the ground floor and land safely onto the roof, as evidenced by the Knight Rider pilot episode.
Real: IT company headquartered in Great Neck, New York
It’s hard to believe there could be anything nefarious going on at a company with such a jazzy splash page. You get a pass for now, Comtron. We’d just better not catch you smuggling chip schematics out of the building on 5.25″ floppies, or your semi truck trailers will be jumped through!
Imaginary: Front company for Dr. Evil’s diabolical empire headquartered in a Caribbean volcano
The financial genius at the helm of Virtucon (known only as Number 2) has attempted on many occasions to keep the global corporation’s activities above-board. It, along with its sister companies, Starbucks and the Hollywood Talent Agency, are highly lucrative, although their success is often derailed by Dr. Evil in order to focus on the less reliable value stream of world domination.
Real: Software development consulting group headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts
As far as I can tell there’s no palpable evil being perpetrated here. Unless, that is, you consider a $400 per hour bill rate for database programming evil. Also, their claim that they practically invented the internet may be slightly vainglorious, but doesn’t quite elevate them to supervillain status.
Imaginary: A.I. Research corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California
Originally a contract manufacturing company, Cyberdyne took a sharp turn toward advanced research and development around 1984. Within just a few years they secured millions in funding from the Department of Defense, and rapidly expanded from a single industrial park warehouse to a multi-story, high-security office park. A 1995 explosion in the primary building did little to slow their exponential growth, as they continued to gobble up defense network management contracts from multiple sectors of the military. Their most recent DOD project, Skynet, is rumored to be a step in the direction of full automation of all military and homeland security response systems – including nuclear defense.
Real: IT solutions and Hardware company headquartered in Dallas, Texas
The IRL Cyberdyne Systems seems relatively wholesome and endoskeletal combat chassis manufacturing-free, although a close look at their client list reveals that they do work for King Aerospace – a defense contractor. Missile testing today; hovercraft Hunter-Killer robots tomorrow?
Real #2: Software Company headquartered in the United Kingdom
A seemingly innocuous application development outfit until you learn that founder Bill Witts wrote the BattleZone game for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1983. Look at this screencap of Witts’ futuristic death machine simulator. Does this look innocuous to you?!?
Bonus: The UK’s British National Space Centre has a £3.6 billion military satellite system called Skynet, which just announced even further expansion on March 10 of 2010!