According to Irina Vinogradsky and Angela Simmons, they and the three other students were partly motivated by personal feelings against the name “Cocaine.” “It’s not just academic to everyone in the group,” said Ms. Vinogradsky, adding that the students shared a “very strong feeling that it’s immoral.”Read details in the New York Times. The students also claimed that the label was deceptive. The maker claims that the drink contains 280 mg of caffeine plus a confidential ingredient that supposedly provides a lasting "energy buzz." Source.
The drink's inventor, James Kirby, 42, says, “We had little money for marketing and advertising, so we chose a way to get as much as we could for free." The strategy worked; the notoriety and controversy surrounding the name got priceless headlines, including the New York Times story.
The Food and Drug Administration hasn't been heard from yet. You can't legally label iced tea "Whiskey." And the Coca-Cola Company hasn't weighed in yet, either; Kirby's new bright red beverage containers bear a remarkable resemblance to Coke, whose original formula actually contained what Kirby's drink only pretends to.
For one trademark lawyer's commentary, see this blog.