Seven Network has managed to delay the start date of new Ten topper James Warburton after a court victory Tuesday.

The former sales topper defected from Seven in March but the free web went to court to prevent him from starting his new job until October 2012, claiming his intimate sales knowledge would be commercially damaging to the web; Ten wanted Warburton to start on July 14 this year.

Warburton also launched a cross claim alleging Seven wrongfully repudiated his contract, which was dismissed.

Justice Michael Pembroke split the difference and ruled the new Ten topper could start on January 1, 2012, he also ordered Warburton to pay 70% of his former employer’s costs.

Warburton said little outside court other than he was looking forward to starting with Ten, Seven welcomed the decision saying it was important that contracts were upheld in the TV biz.

“I am glad the date when James can commence with Network Ten has been determined and that his cross claim has been dismissed,” said Seven topper David Lecki. “He was a valuable member of the Seven team. We wish him good luck.”