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Shell card in legal row

Financial Mail on Sunday

19 April 1998

Shell card in legal row


A COURT battle over a loyalty card scheme could cost oil giant Shell millions of pounds.

Consultant John Donovan, owner of promotional agency Don Marketing, claims the scheme is his brainchild.

Donovan says Shell’s SMART loyalty scheme originates from a concept presented to the company in 1989 by his small agency, which is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He claims to have developed the idea of a multi-brand loyalty scheme using a smartcard, and to have approached supermarkets Tesco and J. Sainsbury on Shell’s behalf.

After five years the concept was turned down. However, Shell launched a loyalty scheme in 1996 which Donovan claims resembles his own. It uses a smartcard and is run in association with nine other companies.

Donovan is seeking compensation through the High Court and expects to receive ‘a multi-million pound settlement’. The action may delay the national introduction of the card scheme.

Shell said: ‘The claim has been most carefully investigated. Shell UK is satisfied it is entirely without substance. We intend to defendously in court.’

Shell card in legal row and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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