Apple Co-Defendent SimulScribe Settles Visual Voicemail Patent Suit. Is Apple Next?

simulscribe-logo.pngLost in all the news about Apple’s earnings yesterday was a development in the $360 million patent-infringement lawsuit against it and other co-defendants (including Skype, Comcast, and AT&T) by Klausner Technologies. One of the co-defendants, SimulScribe, settled. SimulScribe offers its own competing visual voicemail for Blackberries and Windows Mobile phones, which it just started selling (prices begin at $10 a month for 40 voicemail messages). Visual voicemail turns your voicemails into text with headlines so you can manage them like e-mail and listen to them, or read them, in any order you choose.

So that’s one down for Klausner. Apple has much deeper pockets and more to lose than SimulScribe, but can a settlement be far behind? Or will Apple drag this out in the courts? If the NTP-RIM trial is any precedent (in which RIM lost on a flimsier case and had to pay more than $600 million), Apple might be better off settling now. the strategy Klausner seems to be pursuing is to line up settlements with the other co-defendants first to put more pressure on Apple.

In celebration of settling his portion of the lawsuit, SimulScribe CEO James Siminoff is offering a free one-month trial (wipe brow now, James).