Maybe Candy Is Quicker
11/23/1992 at 01:00 AM EST
THE MEN FROM MARS ARE ON THE ATTACK. The Green Ones, underfinanced and outnumbered, are surrounded. Only Wendy—smart, plucky, sometimes scantily clad Wendy—can prevent the annihilation of her beloved Green Ones and get on with her plan to get rich while making the world a sexier place.
This is no plot summary from Barbarella but the gritty essence of a nasty trademark battle being waged between Wendy Jaffe's Cool Chocolate Inc. and Mars Inc., the corporate giant that manufactures M&M's. Mars is miffed because Jaffe, a 31-year-old lawyer turned entrepreneur is marketing green M&M's clones (The Green Ones) as an aphrodisiac.
Jaffe, of Northridge, Calif., admits that M&M's inspired her product, because of a decades-old myth that green M&M's—and only green ones—turn people on. In fact, she remembers discreet gifts of green M&M's as a courtship ritual in high school, It took her until last year to decide to market the candy. Quitting her $70,000-a-year job at a Santa Monica law firm, she raised almost $20,000—some of it her own and some from her father, a divorce lawyer, and her mother, a teacher—to start Cool Chocolate.
"We've been using the trademark since March," she says, "and the first complaint I had about the name was when they filed the lawsuit on Oct. 8." Mars, charging trademark infringement and unfair competition, wants her to stop selling the Green Ones and also wants unspecified punitive damages.
Jaffe has seized on the lawsuit as a golden opportunity to get publicity for her product, which is sold in novelty stores. She even went on Studs in July and dated two of the show's bachelors, only one of whom was allowed to try the Green Ones. "He was definitely the steamier date," she says.
But seriously, are the Green Ones...effective? "Chocolate is supposed to be an aphrodisiac," says Jaffe. "And I consulted a color therapist who said that green stimulates sexual activity. That may seem like a stretch, but hey...they do work for me."