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Hi Struth,

I had a good friend do exactly what you are contemplating now..right or wrong I am nearly certain than most small businesses are started on a ‘promise’ of work.
The important thing to know and remember is that your employer paid you to undertake all the actions that you have done to date. They have paid for your time, thoughts, ideas and all data. Even if you had made work notes in a diary that you purchased, those notes belong to your employer. I am certain that it would be hard to separate AT&T he end of the day who owns what. But at this point, everything is theirs…Regardless of any contract being in place you (as all of us) are bound by and must comply with the corporations act. Most people are not aware of the act’s existence.
Remember that anything you do electronically (including this) is recorded somewhere…and anything you print, forward, scan via a PC can be recovered at a later point..
We also assume that when someone takes a person/entity to court that they believe they are in the right and have an axe to grind and will more than likely seek compensation. Let’s role reverse for a minute…you are the director of XYZ Co. with liquid funds and 30 staff. Joe Blow resigns and starts up his own business, initially only a one man operation named ABC co. As you have time, staff, and funds all in your favour you can bury your ex employee in legal action, requiring him to seek legal counsel, and spend precious start up capital on defense instead of on the business. As he is also a one man operation, everyday that you stuff him around with adjournments, court dates, hearing, mentions etc he is:
a) not poaching your clients
b) not earning an income
c) going backwards
d) probably stressing his head off

You can afford to stuff him around for 6 months and probably drive him into the ground before he took off. You may not have had a case legally but can I tell you it is not about who has a case, it is more about ‘lasting’ and not losing the case yourself.

The above exercise cost a close friend $90K. In the end his previous employer had spent enough money trying to tie him up in red tape and dropped everything

At the end of the day no one owns a client. Simply they are someone’s client and are as available to any business to call upon. All is fair in love, war and business.

Good Luck