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Pusser's Rum Sues Mixologists over 'Painkiller' Name

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A Caribbean rum distiller is trying to swizzle-stick-it to a couple of New York City bar owners for stepping on its brand.

Pusser's Rum Ltd. filed suit against veteran Manhattan mixologists Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato for naming their bar after the distillery’s signature drink–the "Painkiller."

The British Virgin Islands company bought the rights to "Painkiller," which it defines as "alcoholic fruit drinks with fruit juices and cream of coconut and coconut juice," in 1981. The company also promotes "Painkiller Day," "Painkiller" drink mix, rum cakes, T-shirts and mugs—the sales of which are being undermined, they claim, by the Lower East Side Bar.

Gonzalez and Boccato, who started the tiki-themed lounge in May 2010, don’t even use Pusser’s rum in their drinks, the grog company complains. "The 'Painkiller' cocktail that [Gonzalez and Boccato] are selling is not made of Pusser’s rum, contrary to both public expectation and trademark law," according to the suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.

The outside of the bar is only advertised by a sign that says "tiki bar," but the rum company says the owners are also cyber-squatting on their brand by buying the domain name, www.painkillernyc.com and promoting the establishment as "Painkiller." The bar owners could not be reached for comment.