Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image



INTO BATTLE WITH SHELL: Bury Free Press 18 June 1999

Bury Free Press Friday

June 18, 1999

Front page main story

Man sues oil giant over ‘his idea’


by Richard Hamer

A BUSINESSMAN stands to net millions of pounds if he wins an on-going battle with oil giant Shell.

John Donovan’s David and Goliath battle centres around his claim that Shell’s Smart card customer loyalty scheme was his idea.

Mr Donovan, of Bradfield Combust, says the idea was pinched from a concept mooted in confidence by him, but Shell says it stemmed from a different source.

And, while 52-year-old Mr Donovan is suing the multi-national over its alleged misuse of confidential information and refusal to credit him as the scheme’s creator, Shell is making a counter-claim for damages against Mr Donovan’s company Don Marketing, for breach of a confidentiality 

Geoffrey Cox, for Mr Donovan, told the High Court on Tuesday that Shell approached Mr Donovan in 1989 for ideas to ‘jazz up’ its flagging Collect and Select free gift promotion.

Mr Donovan, who has lived in Bradfield Combust for 12 years, devised a joint loyalty card scheme, by which Shell would join forces with a select consortium of other major retailers, in different fields, so customers could collect credit points and claim free gifts more quickly.

In 1990, Shell took an option to develop the plan in the future, under terms of confidentiality which had governed their past dealings.

Seven years later the Smart card, incorporating Mr Donovan’s ideas, was launched, said Mr Cox.

But when he claimed payment for his contribution, no money was forthcoming.

Mr Cox told Mr Justice Laddie that Shell’s witnesses seemed to have developed ‘corporate amnesia’.

“You may get the impression from these witnesses that Mr Donovan was treated to some extent as one of the general run of nuisances who would pester the company with information of no value,” he said.

“In fact, Mr Donovan had a long, trusted and successful record with Shell as an adviser on promotions dating back to the early 1980s.”

The case is set to continue until Monday.

Original Article

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.