Yeah I agree with you it's how patent trolls do business, and from recent high profile cases, very successfully.
But you're assuming VP8 will be found to be infringing. I'm not saying it won't for that matter. There's about 100 comments on that topic between a lot of nerds, fan boys whoever. Frankly I am not sure any of them have any idea whatsoever, whether they are or aren't infringing. I certainly don't as I am not a U.S patent lawyer which specialises in algorithms. I doubt you are qualified either really
All I said was this move pushes us closer to fireworks. Place your bets gentlemen, place your bets.
The growth is with mobile devices. The leaders among them is Apple with iOS, and Google with Android, both of which come with hardware support for H.264, and no WebM hardware support (future support in... theory, but I can say, count Apple out).
This is a good point but check out what those WebM guys are also heavily pushing http://blog.webmproject.org/2011/01/availability-of-webm-vp8-video-hardware.html. Yes VP8 is rapidly catching up h.264 when it comes to hardware support on mobile devices. Fullscreen 1080p VP8 decoding on several chips due to go into Android devices.
This is just another shot across the bows however. What everyone is really waiting for are the major online video content providers to flip to WebM when it is supported by enough devices. With youtube being the biggest of them all making loud steps in that direction, it seems only a matter of time before they aim the guns at the main sail. Then we get fireworks
Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.