I wrote a post back in August '09 about the intellectual property of booze, and the various attempts to copyright, trademark, or otherwise legally restrict cocktail recipes, names, and techniques. (That was sparked by my getting a nastygram from a company wanting me to rename my "Gingerita." I chose to call it the "Litigious Bastard" instead.) A year or so later, Chantal Martineau wrote a post for The Atlantic covering the same territory, (though it doesn't draw many distinctions between copyrights, trademarks, and patents, and has some other inaccuracies.) That article starts out by mentioning a cease-and-desist threat against the Lower East Side tiki bar Painkiller:
Shortly after the tiki-themed cocktail lounge Painkiller opened its doors on the Lower East Side of Manhattan this May, a man walked into the bar and threatened to issue a cease and desist order. Pusser's, which distills a Navy-proof rum in the British Virgin Islands, trademarked the recipe for a Painkiller cocktail back in 1989. The man claimed that Painkiller's owners, Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato, had no right to the name of the bar or its namesake cocktail, which they like to make with rums from Martinique and Jamaica. He was promptly sent packing.
As well he should have been. As it turned out, they didn't trademark the recipe (see my earlier post for some analysis on whether that is or isn't actually doable. I don't think you actually can, and I certainly don't think it's a good idea, for reasons I outline there.)
Pusser's has a relatively recent history, though their principal product is a recreation of high-strength blended rum issued to sailors by the Royal Navy since 1678. So what exactly did Pusser's trademark? It's hard to link to their search results, but if you go over to TESS, the US Patent and Trademark Office's electronic system, you'll see that among other results for "Painkiller" (such as trademarks for "gymnastic and sporting articles", clothing, and "entertainment and education computer game software", bicycles, and medication...all of which are trademarked by entities other than Pusser's), there are live trademarks owned by Pusser's for "advertising services" (for "National Pusser's Painkiller Day"), "restaurant and bar services", "non-alcoholic mixed fruit juices", and "alcoholic fruit drinks with fruit juices and cream of coconut and coconut juice."