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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Zilch is better with 'coke'

THE beverage company that named its energy drink "Cocaine" should be doused with a few buckets of water to shock it back to reality. Redux Beverages LLC thinks it's cute and harmless to name the drink after an illegal drug. It maintains that anybody who can't figure out the difference between it and the powdered substance needs help.

That ignores that the real thing kills and is addicting, especially for young people. The Las Vegas firm markets the beverage to young people on MySpace.com and elsewhere as the "legal alternative" to the illegal drug. It is mostly sold in bars and stores in New York and California now, but if the firm keeps the trademark, it would soon be available nationwide.

Cleveland State University law students have a better idea. They have filed an objection to the trademark with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The protest was done on behalf of the Progressive Intellectual Property Law Association and Americans for Drug Free Youth, Inc., who rightly label the trademark immoral and scandalous.

Naturally, the company blames the media for the controversy on its Web site, equally irresponsibly named drinkcocaine.com. Redux says kids are smart and know its beverage is not the illegal drug. But what if it instills a desire to try the drug?

The public has until early next month to comment But this is a trademark that should be denied. Too many American youth and young adults have drug-related problems. There's no point giving them a reason to make a connection, and then to follow through on the real, illegal, thing.

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