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Apple's head lawyer steps down

The Mac maker confirms that Nancy Heinen, its general counsel and highest-ranking female executive, has left the company.

Apple Computer's top lawyer has left the company, in the third high-level departure from the Mac maker in recent months.

The company on Monday confirmed the departure of general counsel Nancy Heinen, who was its highest-ranking female executive, but did not say when she left, or why.

"Nancy Heinen is no longer an Apple employee," said company spokesman Steve Dowling. "We've already begun the search for a (new) general counsel. In the interim, Peter Oppenheimer, our chief financial officer, will oversee Apple's legal department."

Heinen's exit follows that of iPod division chief and longtime hardware executive Jon Rubinstein, as well as that of chief software technology officer Avie Tevanian. Tevanian on Monday joined the board of directors of voice portal company Tellme Networks.

Word of Heinen's departure comes just as Apple scored a major victory in a British court, with a judge ruling that Apple can keep using the Apple logo in conjunction with its iTunes Music Store.

Heinen's departure was noted Friday on Apple enthusiast site Apple Insider.