To be fair, I don't think people thought that lawsuit was frivolous. They just thought that lady was an idiot.But the resulting warning on coffee cups is certainly frivolous. It protects nothing but liability.
The Iowa grade school Mock Trial case 5 or 6 years ago was a variation on the McD's coffee case. It was a great case to see done in moot court. Every kid on every team thought the whole idea was ridiculous but played on through anyway.
I always wondered about person who orders hot coffee, then puts the Styrofoam cup between her knees, starts driving and then blames the store for not warning her it was hot after burning herself when she spilled it. Falls in the "can't fix stupid" bucket for me.
Kind of like a small brewery publicly inciting the escalation of a legal disagreement on the web and changing the dispute from a trademark issue to defamation. Not a very smart move.
It seems like the question of infringement would have been much easier to solve by changing the can design and dragging your feet, while still appearing to be negotiating, meanwhile using up your current inventory. Then quietly agreeing to not use the old design anymore. Magic Hat may or may not be acting in good faith but they are at least playing by the rules. It's like Fight Club, "The first rule of fight club is you don't talk about fight club".
I've never had either beer and, as far as I know, neither are distributed in Iowa so I likely never will. I have no dog in this fight. I'm just watching a small business cut its own throat.