It sounds like...
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the ruling goes roughly to the effect of:
The company owns any works you create "on company time".
You own any works you create on your own time (i.e. the contact list the chap had before he started working for that company).
So, and this is something probably anyone in IT is familiar with, if you create a piece of work in your own time, database structure, graphic, logo or whatever for your employer as UNPAID overtime... does that mean, as you're not being remunerated for your effort, that, unless you sign away the rights to it, you own that piece of work?
"Give us dev guys a pay rise or yer brand new, shiny, top-secret program gets GPL'd!"