#thecircuit

Sharis Pozen to Skadden, Arps: Former Justice Department acting antitrust head Sharis Pozen will be joining the antitrust and competition practice of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the law firm announced in a news release Thursday.

Pozen, who resigned from her position at the end of April, said in January that she would leave the department to practice private law but did not specify where. She joined Justice in 2009 and took over for Christine Varney as the attorney general for the antitrust division last August. Pozen was in charge of the antitrust division when the department rejected a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.

Microsoft names Mark Penn as VP: Microsoft has named Mark Penn, a former strategist for Hillary Clinton and chief executive of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, as its corporate vice president for strategic and special projects. Penn will report directly to Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and will lead a “small interdisciplinary team” that focuses on customer initiatives at Microsoft.

“I’m looking forward to applying my diverse skills and experience to some of the biggest new challenges in technology today, and there is no better place to do that than Microsoft,” Penn said.

He will remain in his current position with Burson-Marsteller.

Apple, Samsung and Judge Lucy Koh: Apple and Samsung are due in court July 30 to talk about their patent litigation suits with U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh, who has become an unlikely figure in the battles tech companies are waging for dominance in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Koh, The Washington Post reported, is an expert on intellectual-property law who has taken on hundreds of cases in her one year as a judge.

Judge Ronald M. Whyte, a noted expert on patent law and Koh’s mentor on the District Court in San Jose, said that Koh has undergone a baptism by fire. She has become the central figure in a case that has drawn the attention of anyone involved in the heated debate over whether the current patent system is broken.

Internet Defense League: Companies including Mozilla, WordPress, Reddit and the Cheezburger Network have joined with advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation to form the Internet Defense League — a group dedicated to warning Internet users when they see legislation that they find threatening to Internet innovation.

The group is timing its official launch with the release of the latest Batman movie, as the group riffs off the famous “bat signal” with a “cat signal” of its own that it will use when it hears about worrisome legislation.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are supporting the new organization as it launches today.

Facial recognition hearing: At a hearing on facial recognition technology, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) questioned Facebook on its capability to deploy facial recognition technology on its network, asking privacy and public policy manager Rob Sherman to clarify how Facebook uses the tool and its data.

Sherman said that Facebook’s tool will only suggest the faces of those who are already friends of users posting pictures, and that the company doesn’t share the information with any third parties, including law enforcement.

N.Y. Sen. Schumer tells DOJ to drop Apple suit: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke out against the Department of Justice’s suit against Apple and e-book publishers in an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. In the piece, he argued that the suit will only help Amazon return to dominating the e-book market.

“These losses will be particularly felt in New York, which is home not only to many publishers, but also to a burgeoning digital innovation industry,” Schumer said.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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