The lizards had to go, Wawa officials decided.
So yesterday, clerks in the company's convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Maryland pulled the corythosaurus and tyrannosaurus mugs off their shelves.
Frederic Schroeder, Wawa's vice president of marketing, said about 120,000 of the cups had been put on the shelves three weeks ago as part of a promotion.
"We cooked it up ourselves. Dinosaurs are a very hot item with kids these days," Schroeder said.
The stores filled the cups bearing drawings of five different types of dinosaurs with Coke and sold the package for 59 cents.
The promotion was doing fine - until yesterday, Schroeder said.
That's when attorneys for Bob Walters, a Philadelphia artist, informed Wawa, of the problem.
Walters, the principal illustrator for the current Discovering Dinosaur exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences, contends that he drew the tyrannosaurus and corythosaurus that appeared on the cups.
But instead of his credit line, the mugs bear the name "Parmenter" beneath the reptiles. Walters has no problem with the drawings of the three other dinosaurs, which he says he did not draw.
He hired the Philadelphia law firm of Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, which notified Wawa of the alleged error in the credit line on the cups.
"Given the presence of his claim, we withdrew the cups," said Vincent Andrews, Wawa's chief attorney.
"He claims another free-lance artist took his art," Schroeder said.
Schroeder said he had hired a free-lance artist named Parmenter to design the cups. He didn't immediately know Parmenter's first name, and said he had no way of knowing who actually drew the sketches.
"I'm still trying to figure out what's going on," Schroeder said.
Thorley C. Mills Jr., Walters' attorney, said it was a matter of a violation of a copyright. "Those copies are almost identical copies . . . of my client's original art work," he said.
He said he had asked Wawa for a monetary settlement, but he refused to say how much.
Walters appeared to take the alleged mixup in stride.
"I think they are in the midst of negotiating as we speak," Walters said.