Thank you. There is no agreement between you and hence, there is no restrictive covenant and there is nothing to stop you leaving and setting up your own organisation doing exactly what you are doing with them.
There is no intellectual property in a client. Hence, if you happen to know all the clients names and addresses of the top of your head, then you are free to use those names and addresses.
However there is intellectual property in the list of names and addresses and if you took the list of names and addresses and were using those, it is actually a criminal offence.
A financial adviser was recently ordered to pay £10,000 for taking a list of clients from his previous employer. I will say that is not common but it is a potential risk if it is something that you have done.
My suggestion would be to write to them asked them what they are alleging in respect of any breaches and what legal action they are proposing and that whatever they do, you will defend those proceedings. If they don’t reply, I suggest that you press the really hard, to the extent of even getting a solicitor to write. Otherwise, this could be hanging over you for a considerable time.
I don’t see that they have a good case to bring any legal proceedings, if at all.
It is imperative that you do not mention your tie-up with the University in any form at all with your new business.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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