There's a lot of background on the MPEG patents history and some interesting quotes from people who have previously attempted to break the H.264 licensing model
"'MPEG-4 is trying to monopolize the substantially software-based interactive video compression industry, plain and simple,' ... 'It is a move by a few very large companies to dominate a market and fix prices. Recent pricing policies by MPEG LA for MPEG-4, and the customer reaction to them are ample evidence of this.'"
"'Absolute power has corrupted MPEG LA absolutely,' said Nero, which makes CD- and DVD-burning software, in its complaint. 'Once MPEG LA obtained monopoly power in the relevant technology markets, it used that power to willfully maintain or extend its monopolies for years beyond their natural expiration...and administer its licenses in an unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory manner that stifles competition and innovation, and harms consumers.'"