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ShellNews.net: DOMAIN NAME BATTLE FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC . com: CHAPTER ONE:

Since it appears that Shell has decided to abandon its ambition to seize Shell related domain names owned by me, Alfred Donovan, I have decided to publish details of the proceedings which Shell International Petroleum Company Limited brought against me last May (2005) via The World Intellectual Property Organisation. For some reason Shell was upset that I beat them to the top level domain name for their new $223 BILLION company: ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC. Out of the three best top level domain names relating to Shell – Shell.com, RoyalDutchShellPlc.com and RoyalDutchShellGroup.com – I own two and Shell owns one. That seems a perfectly reasonable state of affairs. Is it my fault that Shell management are a bunch of incompetents?
THE COMPLAINT FILED BY SHELL
COMPLAINT TRANSMITTAL COVERSHEET
Attached is a Complaint that has been filed against you with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Policy) approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Rules), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Supplemental Rules).
The Policy is incorporated by reference into your Registration Agreement with the Registrar(s) of your domain name(s), in accordance with which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a Complainant) submits a complaint to a dispute resolution service provider, such as the Center, concerning a domain name that you have registered. You will find the name and contact details of the Complainant, as well as the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the Complaint in the document that accompanies this Coversheet.
You have no duty to act at this time. Once the Center has checked the Complaint to determine that it satisfies the formal requirements of the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules, it will forward an official copy of the Complaint to you. You will then have 20 calendar days within which to submit a Response to the Complaint in accordance with the Rules and Supplemental Rules to the Center and the Complainant. You may represent yourself or seek the assistance of legal counsel to represent you in the administrative proceeding.
• The Policy can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/rules/
• The Rules can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/rules/
• The Supplemental Rules, as well as other information concerning the resolution of domain name disputes can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/rules/
• A model Response can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/respondent/index.html
Alternatively, you may contact the Center to obtain any of the above documents. The Center can be contacted in Geneva, Switzerland by telephone at +41 22 338 8247, by fax at +41 22 740 3700 or by e-mail at [email protected]
You are kindly requested to contact the Center to provide the contact details to which you would like (a) the official version of the Complaint and (b) other communications in the administrative proceeding to be sent.
A copy of this Complaint has also been sent to the Registrar(s) with which the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the Complaint is/are registered.
By submitting this Complaint to the Center the Complainant hereby agrees to abide and be bound by the provisions of the Policy, Rules and Supplemental Rules.
Before the:
WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION
ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION CENTER
SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED
Shell Centre
London
SE1 7NA
England
(Complainant)
-v-
Disputed Domain Names:
ALFRED DONOVAN
(Respondent)
www.royaldutchshellplc.com
www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
www.tellshell.org
________________________________
COMPLAINT
(Rules, para. 3(b))
I. Introduction
[1.] This Complaint is hereby submitted for decision in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Policy), approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Rules), approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Supplemental Rules).
II. The Parties
A. The Complainant
(Rules, para. 3(b)(ii) and (iii))
[2.] The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED an English company having its registered office at Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, England.
[3.] The Complainant’s contact details are:
Address: Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, England
Telephone: (+44) (0)20 7934 5916
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7934 6627
E-mail: [email protected]
[4.] The Complainant’s authorized representative in this administrative proceeding is:
Name: Shell International Limited (IPL/3)
Address: Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, England
Telephone: (+44) (0)20 7934 5910
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7934 6627
E-mail: [email protected]
[5.] The Complainant’s preferred method of communications directed to the Complainant in this administrative proceeding is:
Electronic-only material
Method: e-mail
Address: [email protected]
Contact: David Crawford
Material including hardcopy
Method: Post / courier
Address: Intellectual Property Services, Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7934 6627
Contact: David Crawford
B. The Respondent
(Rules, para. 3(b)(v))
[6.] According to a WHOIS enquiry carried out on 17 May 2005, the Respondent in this administrative proceeding is Alfred Donovan. The Respondent gives his e-mail address as [email protected] or [email protected] and his postal address as 847a Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017, United States of America.
Copies of the printouts of the database search conducted on 17 May 2005 are provided as Annex 1.
[7.] All information known to the Complainant regarding how to contact the Respondent is as set out in Paragraph [6] above.
III. The Domain Names and Registrar
(Rules, para. 3(b)(vi) and (vii))
[8.] This dispute concerns the domain names identified below:
www.royaldutchshellplc.com
www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
www.tellshell.org
[9.] The registrar with which the domain names are registered is:
Tucows.inc
IV. Jurisdictional Basis for the Administrative Proceeding
(Rules, paras. 3(a), 3(b)(xv)
[10.] This dispute is properly within the scope of the Policy and the Administrative Panel has jurisdiction to decide the dispute. The registration agreement, pursuant to which the domain name that is the subject of this Complaint is registered, incorporates the Policy. A true and correct copy of the domain name dispute policy that applies to the domain name in question is provided as Annex 4 to this Complaint.
V. Factual and Legal Grounds
(Policy, paras. 4(a), (b), (c); Rules, para. 3)
[11.] This Complaint is based on the following grounds:
A. The domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(Policy, para. 4(a)(i), Rules, paras. 3(b)(viii), (b)(ix)(1))
(1) www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
The Complainant was until 1 January 2005 the principal company designated within the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies (hereafter “the Group”) to hold the Group’s trade mark and domain name assets. Following internal re-structuring most of the trade marks formerly held by the Complainant have been assigned to Shell Brands International AG, a Swiss company, (hereafter “SBI”) and the trade mark assignments are in the process of being recorded at each national trade mark office, but for the time being, the Complainant remains the owner of the domain names and is authorised to bring these proceeding on behalf of the Group.
The Group is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies, operating in more than 145 countries and employing approximately 119,000 people. The principal holding companies within the Group as at today are N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij (a Dutch company incorporated in 1890, holder of a 60% interest in the Group) and The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company plc (a UK company incorporated in 1897, holder of the remaining 40% interest). “Royal Dutch” is the English translation of the principal distinctive elements of the company name “N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij” and is the abbreviated name by which this company is generally known. Since 1907, when these two companies decided to merge their business interests, the resulting group of companies has been universally known as the “Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies”. On 28 October 2004 it was publicly announced that the boards of these two companies had unanimously agreed to propose to their shareholders the unification of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies under a single parent company, to be called Royal Dutch Shell plc.
The disputed names www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com registered by the Respondent are, to all intents and purposes, identical to the company name “Royal Dutch Shell plc” and the collective name “Royal Dutch/Shell Group”.
Currently SBI is the owner of the “SHELL” trade mark in nearly 190 countries of the world, amounting to more than 3,300 registrations. Details of a small number of these registrations are set out in Annex 2 by way of illustration, and copy registration or renewal certificates of a small but indicative sample of these will be attached to the hard copies of this Complaint. In addition to these, SBI owns more than 570 registrations for the word “SHELL” combined with a “shell” emblem, and more than 3,000 registrations in which the word “SHELL” is combined with another product mark, such as “SHELL HELIX”, a motor oil product. These statistics exclude the more than 3,500 registrations of the “Shell” emblem in its present-day and historical forms, which also represent one of the most recognised corporate logos in the world, associated in the minds of the public with the name “Shell”.
SBI is also the owner of the European Community Trade Mark “ROYAL DUTCH” Number 001305101, registered on 10 September 1999 and valid for all countries of the European Community. A copy of this registration certificate is also attached to the hard copy of this Complaint.
The “SHELL” trade mark has been used since at least 1904 in many countries of the world for a wide variety of petroleum and other products, and as a consequence it has become a very well-known trade mark.
The Complainant or its affiliates are the owners of the “shell” domain name both at the “.com” and “.info” levels and at more than 240 country-code levels, as shown in the list at Annex 3.
An Internet search for the combined words “Royal Dutch Shell” using the Google search engine on 4 February 2005 returned approximately 366,000 hits, the vast majority of them dating from well before the publicity concerning the possible unification of the companies. A search combining the terms “Royal Dutch Shell” and “single board” returned, as of 4 February 2005, just over 350 hits (see Annex 5), reflecting the degree of public interest in the Group’s re-structuring and the proposed creation of the new company.
In preparation for the announcement concerning the unification of the two parent companies, the Complainant embarked on a process of registering the domain names “royaldutchshell”, “royaldutch-shell” and “royal-dutch-shell” in all major countries of the world. A list of these registrations and pending requests for registration is attached at Annex 4. It subsequently also sought to register the combinations “royaldutchshellplc” and “royaldutchshellgroup” in a number of country- and top-level domains – those registrations are included in Annex 4. By this time the Respondent had already registered the disputed domain names.
The Complainant contends that the disputed names are names which rightfully belong to the Group. Whilst the Complainant and SBI have not registered any identical trade mark (i.e., “ROYALDUTCHSHELL”) the reason for this is self-evidently because the function of a trade mark is to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from the goods or services of others. The name “Royal Dutch Shell” has always been used as a collective name for a related group of companies, the Group’s principal trade mark being the simple name “Shell” and the associated emblem. Registration of “Royal Dutch Shell” as a trade mark would therefore be of questionable validity unless and until there is an intention to use such term as a mark to identify products or services.
It is nonetheless a very significant name in the commercial world. “Royal Dutch/Shell” is a name which was originally coined by the two parent companies on the merging of their business interests in 1907, and which has through almost a century of world-wide usage become known exclusively as the name of that group of companies.
The name “Royal Dutch Shell” first appeared as the name of a single company when a dormant English company within the Group was re-named “Royal Dutch Shell plc” on 27 October 2004 in order to secure the name for possible future use by the new parent company, subject to the necessary shareholder approval.
The WIPO report entitled “THE RECOGNITION OF RIGHTS AND THE USE OF NAMES IN THE INTERNET DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM”, Chapter 7, considered the protection of trade names per se in the domain name system. In particular, paragraph 298 stated:
“A trade name is the designation adopted by a commercial enterprise to describe itself and to distinguish it from other businesses and enterprises. Trade names are also referred to variously as company, corporate, business or firm names, although each of these identifiers may sometimes attract slightly different legal or regulatory conditions. Common examples of familiar trade names are Ericsson, General Motors, Holiday Inn, Lego, Microsoft, Nestlé, Philips, Procter & Gamble and Sony. A trade name may also be registered and separately protected as a trademark, as most of the foregoing examples are.”
In relation to the final sentence, the Complainant would respectfully point out that the names cited in this extract are also the brand names of products, which renders them entirely appropriate for registration as trade marks.
(2) www.tellshell.org
“Tell Shell” is a facility set up in November 1998 to promote feedback from customers, shareholders or any other interested parties on topics and issues relating to Shell, and to enable the Group to respond to public concerns and criticism in an open and transparent way. Communication takes place either by e-mail (the majority), by posting comments on the “Tell Shell” Forum (accessible on the Group’s main website www.shell.com), or in writing – some of which are generated by reply-postcards issued as part of the Group’s Annual Reports to its shareholders. E-mail and written correspondence may relate to any subject of interest to the correspondent, and are handled differently depending on whether the correspondent is simply requesting information, such as job vacancies or availability of Shell products, or whether the correspondence is a criticism or suggestion that may impact on the Group as a whole. Correspondence in the latter category totalled 862 in the twelve months to November 1999 , 1063 to November 2000, and 780 to November 2001.
The “Tell Shell” Forum is structured into specific discussion areas, which have included the following in the recent past:
• Energy and technology, now and in the future
• The environment – issues and commitments
• Society and multinationals
• How much freedom should we trade for our security?
• How can we make transport systems more sustainable?
• How can we meet the world’s energy challenge?
The following are examples of comments from the Press relating to the Tell Shell Forum:
Financial Times, 23 May 2003: “Yet is this not what “stakeholder dialogue” should be about? Is the internet not the ideal place for an open debate on issues of trust?”
Journal of Business Ethics, May 2003: “Internet access is as much a device for gathering information about stakeholders as it is a two-way relationship channel. Shell has pioneered in this regard, inviting open commentary and actually processing it through its internal systems into a dialogue device.”
Journal of Corporate Citizenship, March 2003: “When tested, the website tool for feedback in the Tell Shell campaign was effective and responsive … The strong emphasis … on PR is not merely corporate ‘greenwash’. Rather, being ‘seen to be doing the right thing’ and ‘doing the right thing’ together form a mature and effective system via which to fully respond to social and environmental pressures. Shell’s Tell Shell campaign is exemplary in this respect.”
Financial Times, 6 November, 2002: “[Shell’s] Tell Shell Forum is a brave but highly successful way of attracting criticism and by publishing it, defusing it.”
Financial Times, 25 January, 2002: “Shell monitors the contributions and steps in with its own on occasion – a clever way of being transparent while getting its own views across.”
The Express, 15 June, 2000: “Echo [Research Group] finds the oil company’s “Tell Shell” site is one of the few genuine corporate forums.”
The Complainant submits that this demonstrates that the name “Tell Shell” has become well-known as a mechanism for communicating with Shell, and as a source of information, both positive and negative, about the operations of the Group. As mentioned above, in its website format it is accessed via www.shell.com, or directly at www.shell.com/tellshell, but the Complainant has also owned the domain name www.tell-shell.com for defensive purposes since 2002.
B. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names;
(Policy, para. 4(a)(ii), Rules, para. 3(b)(ix)(2))
(1) www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
The Complainant contends that the Respondent is not, and has never been, commonly known by the name “ROYALDUTCHSHELL” or any similar name, nor is he an employee or director of any company having this name.
The Respondent and his son, John Donovan, have been known to the Group for some years. The two men ran a business which specialised in the creation of marketing promotions. In the 1990s, three law suits were brought against Shell UK Limited (an affiliate of the Complainant) by Mr John Donovan or companies with which he was associated, claiming wrongful use of intellectual property belonging to the plaintiffs by Shell UK Limited. Those cases were settled. Mr. Donovan or his company sued Shell UK Limited for a fourth time claiming that the “Smart” promotion then being run by them (involving the use of smart card technology for the collection of customer loyalty points) had in fact been invented by Mr. Donovan and that Shell UK Limited had stolen the idea from him. Despite the fact that the evidence showed that the claim was without foundation, the case was settled after three weeks of trial. No payment was made by Shell in relation to the claim itself, although for reasons which are not relevant to this Complaint, a contribution was made to the legal expenses of John Donovan.
The trial judge, Mr Justice Laddie, before making the order giving effect to the settlement, summed up the nature of the Respondent’s campaign in support of his claim at that time, as follows:
“the attacks on [a Shell employee – the main Shell witness in the case] were, at the very least, recklessly made .. they are completely without foundation .. serious allegations of dishonesty have been made against him and publicised as widely as possible .. web sites containing criticism of [the employee] in the strongest terms have been set up by Mr Donovan ..”
Accordingly, although there is no extant litigation between Shell and the Respondent or with anyone associated with him, the Complainant believes that the Respondent acquired the disputed names as a means of increasing his capability to disparage Shell at some time in the future.
The Respondent’s websites have never attempted to pass themselves off as official Shell websites, and generally have used names that can be readily distinguished from the www.shell.com name owned and used by the Group. Currently, the Respondent’s main website appears to be located at www.shell2004.com.
The disputed names www.royaldutchshellplc.com, www.royaldutchshellgroup.com and www.tellshell.org all redirect to the Respondent’s www.shell2004.com website, as do www.shellnews.net and www.shellscandal.com (both also owned by the Respondent).
The content of that site consists largely of media reports about the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, and the Respondent’s comments thereon, predominantly of a negative nature. The Complainant and the Group it represents have been aware of the site since the beginning and whilst they would not endorse or agree with many of the comments made by the Respondent on the website, they have taken the view that the Respondent is entitled to express his opinions and to use the Internet as a medium for doing so.
The domain names used by the Respondent and mentioned above (other than the disputed names) include elements additional to the name of the company, sufficient to avoid giving the impression that they were domain names owned by Shell, and Shell has not felt justified in challenging their use.
However, the disputed names which are the subject of these proceedings are precisely the names of (a) the intended new principal company of the Group, (b) the name of the Group itself and (c) the name of the Group’s own website discussion forum. The timing of the Respondent’s registration of the name www.royaldutchshellplc.com, on 29 October 2004 (the day immediately following the re-structuring announcement), suggests that the registration was made as a direct reaction to that announcement with the intention of pre-empting the Group from owning the name.
For these reasons the Complainant contends that the Respondent has no legitimate right or interest in the disputed domain names. He also appears not to be using them for any bona fide offering of goods or services. An unsuspecting Internet user looking for information about the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies or about Royal Dutch Shell plc in particular might be tempted to look for www.royaldutchshellgroup.com or www.royaldutchshellplc.com in the expectation that these names would direct him to the appropriate website. In fact, they direct him to the Respondent’s site where he is presented with much adverse publicity and negative personal opinion. As such, the Respondent, with the intent not for any particular commercial gain, but mainly to further his campaign of adverse publicity against the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, is using the disputed names to cause embarrassment to the Group and prevent them from using the names themselves.
(2) www.tellshell.org
This name also re-directs to the Respondent’s site www.shellnews.net. The name itself is very descriptive and gives the clear impression that it will enable the user to “tell Shell” something. In fact, it does not put the user in touch with Shell at all, but exposes him to the Respondent’s criticism site. The Complainant therefore contends that the Respondent can have no legitimate right or interest in the domain name which, because it directs users to an anti-Shell site, is deliberately misleading.
C. The domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
(Policy, paras. 4(a)(iii), 4(b); Rules, para. 3(b)(ix)(3))
The Complainant contends that, in a general sense, the facts set out in the preceding Paragraph B raise a strong presumption that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. They were registered, and are being used, for the purpose of attempting to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s web site, by creating a likelihood of confusion with a company name, a collective name and the name of a website forum owned by the Group. The Respondent has also been known to refer to himself in terms such as “Alfred Donovan of royaldutchshellplc.com , a.k.a. shellnews.net” (an example of such usage is reproduced at Annex 6, taken from a posting he made in the “Tell Shell” forum on 29 November 2004). By referring to himself in this way he is attempting to mislead visitors to his website into thinking that he has some connection with the Group or at least that he has some authority to speak on behalf of the Group.
Specifically, in terms of the Policy, Paragraph 4(b)(ii) provides that it shall be evidence that a domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith if the Respondent has “registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the Respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct”. Previously-decided WIPO Cases such as Nos. D2003-0602 and D2004-0761 have held that a “pattern” may be evidenced by any repetition of such conduct, even as few as two instances. The Complainant contends that by registering the three disputed names, the Respondent has engaged in such a pattern of conduct, aimed at preventing the Complainant and the Complainant’s Group from reflecting their marks in corresponding domain names.
VI. Remedies Requested
(Rules, para. 3(b)(x))
[12.] In accordance with Paragraph 4(i) of the Policy, for the reasons described in Section V above, the Complainant requests the Administrative Panel appointed in this administrative proceeding issue a decision that the names www.royaldutchshellplc.com, www.royaldutchshellgroup.com and www.tellshell.org be transferred to the Complainant.
VII. Administrative Panel
(Rules, para. 3(b)(iv))
[13.] The Complainant elects to have the dispute decided by a three-member Administrative Panel, and nominates the three following panelists as its preferred choices: Antony Gold, David H. Tatham and Frank R. Schoneveld.
VIII. Mutual Jurisdiction
(Rules, para. 3(b)(xiii))
[14.] In accordance with Paragraph 3(b)(xiii) of the Rules, the Complainant will submit, with respect to any challenges that may be made by the Respondent to a decision by the Administrative Panel to transfer or cancel the domain name that is the subject of this Complaint, to the jurisdiction of the courts at the location of the principal office of the concerned Registrar.
IX. Other Legal Proceedings
(Rules, para. 3(b)(xi))
[15.] No other legal proceedings have been instigated in connection with these disputed domain names.
X. Communications
(Rules, paras. 2(b), 3(b)(xii); Supplemental Rules, paras. 3, 4)
[16.] A copy of this Complaint, together with the cover sheet as prescribed by the Supplemental Rules, has been sent or transmitted to the Respondent on 18 May 2005 by e-mail at the e-mail address quoted in paragraph [6] above.
[17.] A copy of this Complaint, has been sent or transmitted to the concerned registrar on 18 May 2005 by e-mail and confirmation hard copy by mail.
[18.] This Complaint is submitted to the Center in electronic form (except to the extent not available for annexes), and in four (4) sets together with the original.
XI. Payment
(Rules, para. 19; Supplemental Rules, Annex D)
[19.] As required by the Rules and Supplemental Rules, payment in the amount of USD 4,000 has been made by credit card.
XII. Certification
(Rules, para. 3(b)(xiv))
[20.] The Complainant agrees that its claims and remedies concerning the registration of the domain name, the dispute, or the dispute’s resolution shall be solely against the domain name holder and waives all such claims and remedies against (a) the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and Panelists, except in the case of deliberate wrongdoing, (b) the concerned registrar, (c) the registry administrator, (d) the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, as well as their directors, officers, employees, and agents.
[21.] The Complainant certifies that the information contained in this Complaint is to the best of the Complainant’s knowledge complete and accurate, that this Complaint is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this Complaint are warranted under the Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument.
Respectfully submitted,
___________________
Robert J. Carter
Duly Authorised Attorney
Date: 18 May 2005
ANNEX 1
WHOIS information for royaldutchshellplc.com
provided by TRUEWHOIS on 17 May 2005
Whois lookup performed by:
A service of Ignus, Incorporated. Whois Results For:
royaldutchshellplc.com
Query Date: May 17, 2005
________________________________________
Registrant:
Alfred Donovan
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
Domain name: ROYALDUTCHSHELLPLC.COM
Administrative Contact:
Donovan, Alfred [email protected]
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
+441206XXXXX
Technical Contact:
OpenSRS Technical Contact, NIC [email protected]
816-10 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M5J2R8
CA
+1.4169577400 Fax: +1.4169577401
Registration Service Provider:
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc., [email protected]
+1 (416) 957-7400
+1 (416) 957-7405 (fax)
http://myhosting.com
Please visit http://myhosting.com for getting support about domain
login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, renewals and general
questions.
Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 29-Oct-2004.
Record expires on 29-Oct-2005.
Record created on 29-Oct-2004.
Domain servers in listed order:
NS3.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.1.33
NS4.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.68.1
Domain status: ACTIVE
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a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail,
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WHOIS information for royaldutchshellgroup.com
provided by TRUEWHOIS on 17 May 2005
Whois lookup performed by:
A service of Ignus, Incorporated. Whois Results For:
royaldutchshellgroup.com
Query Date: May 17, 2005
________________________________________
Registrant:
Alfred Donovan
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
Domain name: ROYALDUTCHSHELLGROUP.COM
Administrative Contact:
Donovan, Alfred [email protected]
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
+441206501781
Technical Contact:
OpenSRS Technical Contact, NIC [email protected]
816-10 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M5J2R8
CA
+1.4169577400 Fax: +1.4169577401
Registration Service Provider:
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc., [email protected]
+1 (416) 957-7400
+1 (416) 957-7405 (fax)
http://myhosting.com
Please visit http://myhosting.com for getting support about domain
login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, renewals and general
questions.
Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 24-Jul-2004.
Record expires on 24-Jul-2005.
Record created on 24-Jul-2004.
Domain servers in listed order:
NS.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.1.7
NS2.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.1.8
Domain status: ACTIVE
The Data in the Tucows Registrar WHOIS database is provided to you by Tucows
for information purposes only, and may be used to assist you in obtaining
information about or related to a domain name's registration record.
Tucows makes this information available “as is,” and does not guarantee its
accuracy.
By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this data only for
lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to:
a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail,
telephone, or facsimile of mass, unsolicited, commercial advertising or
solicitations to entities other than the data recipient's own existing
customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that
send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or
ICANN-Accredited registrar, except as reasonably necessary to register
domain names or modify existing registrations.
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WHOIS information for tellshell.org
provided by TRUEWHOIS on 17 May 2005
Whois lookup performed by:
A service of Ignus, Incorporated. Whois Results For:
tellshell.org
Query Date: May 17, 2005
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Domain ID:D104705097-LROR
Domain Name:TELLSHELL.ORG
Created On:30-Jul-2004 19:07:15 UTC
Last Updated On:29-Sep-2004 03:47:16 UTC
Expiration Date:30-Jul-2005 19:07:15 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Status:OK
Registrant ID:tuNueMJ0VMfaBof0
Registrant Name:Alfred Donovan
Registrant Organization:Alfred Donovan
Registrant Street1:847a Second Avenue
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:New York
Registrant State/Province:NY
Registrant Postal Code:10017
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+44.1206501781
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:[email protected]
Admin ID:tuNueMJ0VMfaBof0
Admin Name:Alfred Donovan
Admin Organization:Alfred Donovan
Admin Street1:847a Second Avenue
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:New York
Admin State/Province:NY
Admin Postal Code:10017
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+44.1206501781
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:[email protected]
Tech ID:tuvKFjq1iqvbZA98
Tech Name:NIC OpenSRS Technical Contact
Tech Organization:SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.
Tech Street1:816-10 Bay St.
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Toronto
Tech State/Province:ON
Tech Postal Code:M5J2R8
Tech Country:CA
Tech Phone:+1.4169577400
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:+1.4169577401
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:[email protected]
Name Server:NS.SOFTCOMCA.COM
Name Server:NS2.SOFTCOMCA.COM
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The information returned by TRUEWHOIS is supplied “as-is” by independent
third parties and TRUEWHOIS makes no warranty about its accuracy or usability.
All whois information is copyrighted and used with permission.
ANNEX 2
Examples of Trade Mark Registrations of the name “SHELL”
(Please note that this list of registrations in respect of oil products (fuels, lubricants, etc.), is only a small sample of the total of over 3,300 registrations of “SHELL” owned by the Complainant around the world and covering a broad range of products and services)
Country Reg. Number Reg. Date
Albania 9812 3-Feb-2003
Andorra 6314 20-Mar-1997
Angola 2112 8-Oct-1992
Anguilla 2735 3-Jun-1996
Antigua 1261 25-Jan-1961
Argentina 1734864 15-Mar-1979
Armenia 849 20-Nov-1995
Australia A218441 30-Nov-1967
Australia A223078 9-Oct-1968
Australia * 9267 19-May-1910
Australia D154323 10-Jun-1959
Austria 35320 9-Oct-1956
Austria 9050 21-Jul-1925
Azerbaijan 970614 10-Apr-1997
Bahrain 27327 5-Apr-2000
Bahama Islands * 3211 10-Feb-1960
Bangladesh 9768 19-Apr-1951
Barbados 81/3317 5-Mar-1971
Barbados 81/5341 5-Sep-1961
Belarus 2032 17-Dec-1993
Benin UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Benin UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Benelux * 51467 11-Aug-1971
Benelux 730670 28-Feb-2003
Bermuda 4087 27-Mar-1957
Bhutan BT/M/97/00370 11-Sep-1997
British Virgin Is. 961 6-May-1982
Bolivia 63474-A 27-May-1954
Bosnia-Herzegovina BAZR983286 28-Dec-1998
Botswana 109C 12-Oct-1974
Brazil 811391990 30-Apr-1985
Brazil 2020556 12-Mar-1977
Brazil 720159270 15-Dec-1981
Brunei 429 28-Jan-1958
British Solomon Is. 1286 25-Jan-1982
Burkina Faso UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Burkina Faso UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Bulgaria 2782 31-Mar-1959
Cambodia KH814 14-Jul-1992
Cameroun Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Cameroun Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Cayman Islands 816157 10-Jun-1992
Central African Rep. UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Central African Rep. UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Chile 586148 19-Aug-1970
Chile * 595679 11-Jul-1950
Chile 429214 15-Jun-1984
China * 33828 1-Feb-1960
China 37487 8-Feb-1961
China 904466 28-Nov-1996
Colombia 110718 25-Apr-1985
Congo Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Congo Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Congo Dem. Rep. 5258/95 7-Dec-1995
Costa Rica 39538 27-Aug-1969
Costa Rica 95140 13-Mar-1996
Cote d'Ivoire UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Cote d'Ivoire UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Croatia Z960648 25-Jun-1996
Community Trade Mark (EU) * 1118801 25-Mar-1999
Cuba 112708-A 5-Mar-1982
Cyprus 5888 15-May-1958
Czech Republic 153617 1-Oct-1958
Denmark VR 1953 00541 2-May-1953
Djibouti 133/03/RADM 15-Apr-1993
Dominican Republic * 22365 3-Dec-1973
Equatorial Guinea UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Estonia 8240 22-Feb-1994
Ethiopia 2599 18-Oct-1995
Fiji Islands 7199 4-May-1971
Finland 65762 20-Dec-1976
Finland 12174 8-Dec-1930
France 1556124 3-Mar-1978
France * 1484877 26-Sep-1968
Gabon Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Gabon Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Gambia 1688 8-Oct-1951
Gaza District 2725 30-Mar-1995
Georgia 4997 7-Apr-1997
Germany * 980703 4-Feb-1978
Ghana 19277 30-Jan-1974
Ghana 8694 10-Jul-1958
Grenada Oct-98 22-Jan-1961
Greece * 26964 24-Oct-1957
Guatemala 32497 12-Jul-1977
Guinea-Bissau UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Guernsey 816157 25-Jan-1968
Guinea Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Guyana 11345A 11-Feb-1981
Haiti 84/133 13-Jan-1962
Hong Kong 122/1952 3-Sep-1951
Hong Kong 13031/2003 26-Mar-2001
Honduras Republic 26722 15-Nov-1979
Honduras Republic 18921 17-Feb-1972
Hungary 120900 13-Jan-1959
Iceland 204/1958 2-Dec-1958
India 158036 24-Mar-1953
Indonesia 390000 19-Jul-1966
Iran * 13975 31-Mar-1955
Ireland 48996 21-Feb-1949
Italy 615546 22-Jan-1952
Jamaica 9586 17-Apr-1963
Jersey 3976 11-Jan-1977
Jordan 11545 30-Dec-1970
Kazakhstan 4657 21-Oct-1993
Kenya 14245 13-Aug-1966
St. Kitts Nevis T4353 16-Aug-1995
Korea North 8043 17-Feb-1992
Korea South 37045 8-May-1974
Korea South 150224 9-Jan-1988
Korea South 154060 10-May-1988
Kuwait 24822 29-Apr-1993
Kyrghyz Republic 1992 3-May-1972
Laos 1133 1-Oct-1992
Latvia M14397 30-Dec-1992
Lebanon 93826 23-Aug-1958
Lesotho LSM/94/00497 12-Oct-1974
Lithuania 11197 14-Jul-1993
Macao N/002206 8-Jul-1997
Madagascar Republic 351 13-Nov-1995
Mali Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Malawi 1460/1959 23-Jun-1959
Mauritania UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Mauritania UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Malaysia M/22890 9-Jun-1953
Macedonia 2731 25-Jun-1976
Mexico 173215 1-Jun-1971
Mexico * 174561 29-Jun-1972
Mexico 174559 29-Jun-1972
Mexico 174835 29-Jun-1972
Mexico 174554 29-Jun-1972
Mongolia 2394 20-Jan-1998
Moldova 3274 5-Apr-1994
Monaco R95.16159 25-Mar-1970
Monaco 18624/R9718522 31-Jul-1957
Morocco 58527 2-Mar-1956
Montserrat 1083/816157 4-Feb-1982
Mozambique 1740/99 28-Sep-1999
Namibia 2660/52/4 25-Jul-1980
Namibia 81/1028 18-Sep-1981
Neth. Antilles 4675 4-Oct-1952
Nepal 9088/049 8-Apr-1993
Nicaragua 18310 5-Oct-1968
Nigeria * 6860 29-Aug-1951
Nigeria 56588 12-Feb-1998
Niger Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Niger Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Norway 41548 24-May-1952
New Zealand * 17724 28-Jan-1921
New Zealand 61248 7-Jan-1958
Pakistan * 15699 19-Apr-1951
Panama 15472 19-Nov-1971
Papua New Guinea A5052R 16-Sep-1975
Paraguay 171973 12-Oct-1994
Peru 69893 20-Aug-1987
Philippine Islands 4-2002-00984 4-Feb-2002
Poland * 65653 29-Aug-1989
Portugal 129662 21-Oct-1966
Portugal 129661 21-Oct-1966
Portugal 172109 26-Nov-1931
Portugal 172108 26-Nov-1931
Romania 4R649 6-Oct-1958
Russia * 45735 6-Jun-1972
El Salvador 227/105 17-Sep-1984
Western Samoa 941 7-Jan-1965
San Marino SMM20010144 29-Aug-2001
Saudi Arabia 41/90 12-Nov-1970
Senegal Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Senegal Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Serbia & Montenegro 21581 25-Jun-1976
Seychelles 1366(D) 4-Jan-1985
Sierra Leone 3534 17-Dec-1951
Singapore T71/51033B 2-Feb-1971
Sri Lanka 56518 16-Nov-1988
Slovak Republic 153617 1-Oct-1958
Slovenia 7280378 2-Jun-1972
St. Lucia 16/1977 28-Feb-1977
South Africa * 948/18/3 12-Oct-1974
South Africa 72/2327 26-Apr-1972
Spain 304071/2 18-Jan-1957
Spain 304072 13-Mar-1957
Spain 304076 18-Jan-1957
Spain 304074 3-Mar-1960
Spain * 674340 24-Apr-1972
Sudan 14084 21-Feb-1973
Suriname 7466 4-Dec-1971
Swaziland 15/1929 26-Jul-1978
Swaziland 14/1929 26-Jul-1978
Swaziland 13/1929 26-Jul-1978
Swaziland Dec-29 26-Jul-1978
Sweden 74594 4-Sep-1953
Switzerland 397260 15-May-1952
Syria 19102 14-Jul-1958
Tajikistan TJ1373 26-Dec-1994
Tanganyika 10340 8-Jul-1966
Tchad Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Tchad Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Turks and Caicos Is. 11170 4-Aug-1995
Thailand Kor169738 23-Mar-1932
Togo Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Togo Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Tonga 201 1-Feb-2000
Tonga 1112 25-Jan-1982
Trinidad 2086 21-Mar-1963
Turkmenistan 590 6-Jun-1972
Tuvulu TUV/948 25-Jan-1961
Uganda 9627 23-Aug-1966
United Kingdom 479803 13-Apr-1927
United Kingdom 582889 19-Jan-1938
United Kingdom * 816157 25-Jan-1961
United Kingdom 754702 12-Jun-1956
United Kingdom 780163 25-Jul-1958
Ukraine 4424 6-Jun-1972
Uruguay 353522 27-May-1974
Uzbekistan 1037 23-Jul-1993
Vanuatu 416 25-Jan-1982
Venezuela 31094F 27-Aug-1956
Venezuela 31087F 24-Aug-1956
Vietnam 1901 25-Jun-1990
St. Vincent 7/1982 25-Jan-1982
West Bank 3411 6-May-1995
Yemen Republic 217(A) 25-Aug-1947
Zambia 1460/1959 23-Jun-1959
Zanzibar 158/94 19-Nov-1992
Zimbabwe * 1460/1959 23-Jun-1959
* copy of Registration/Renewal Certificate or other evidence supplied in separate Exhibit
ANNEX 3
“shell.xxx” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
shell.ac
shell.af
shell.ad
shell.com.ai
shell.net.ai
shell.off.ai
shell.org.ai
shell.ag
shell.co.ag
shell.com.ag
shell.net.ag
shell.com.ar
shell.am
shell.as
shell.com.au
shell.at
shell.co.at
shell.or.at
shell.az
shell.com.az
shell.bs
shell.com.bs
shell.com.bd
shell.bb
shell.by
shell.be
shell.bo
shell.com.bo
shell.ba
shell.com.ba
shell.co.bw
shell.com.br
shell.bf
shell.bg
shell.bi
shell.com.kh
shell.cm
shell.ca
shell.td
shell.cl
shell.cn
shell.com.cn
shell.co.ck
shell.com.co
shell.cg
shell.cd
shell.co.cr
shell.ci
shell.hr
shell.cu
shell.cx
shell.com.cy
shell.cz
shell.dk
shell.dj
shell.com.dm
shell.dm
shell.net.dm
shell.org.dm
shell.com.do
shell.net.do
shell.org.do
shell.web.do
shell.com.ec
shell.ec
shell.com.eg
shell.ee
shell.fo
shell.com.fj
shell.fi
shell.fr
shell.tm.fr
shell.gf
shell.gm
shell.de
shell.com.gh
shell.com.gi
shell.gi
shell.com.gd
shell.gd
shell.net.gd
shell.org.gd
shell.com.gr
shell.gr
shell.gl
shell.com.gu
shell.com.gt
shell.net.gt
shell.org.gt
shell.co.gg
shell.gg
shell.net.gg
shell.org.gg
shell.gy
shell.ht
shell.hm
shell.sh
shell.com.hk
shell.hk
shell.com.hn
shell.co.hu
shell.hu
shell.is
shell.co.id
shell.io
shell.co.ir
shell.ir
shell.ie
shell.it
shell.com.jm
shell.co.jp
shell.jp
shell.co.je
shell.je
shell.net.je
shell.org.je
shell.com.jo
shell.com.kz
shell.kz
shell.co.ke
shell.ki
shell.com.kn
shell.kn
shell.net.kn
shell.org.kn
shell.co.kr
shell.kg
shell.com.lv
shell.lv
shell.net.lv
shell.org.lv
shell.co.ls
shell.li
shell.lt
shell.com.ly
shell.ly
shell.net.ly
shell.org.ly
shell.com.lc
shell.lu
shell.mw
shell.co.im
shell.com.my
shell.com.mt
shell.co.mu
shell.com.mu
shell.mu
shell.net.mu
shell.org.mu
shell.com.mx
shell.mn
shell.md
shell.co.ma
shell.ma
shell.ms
shell.com.na
shell.nr
shell.an
shell.nl
shell.nc
shell.com.ni
shell.nushell.mp
shell.com.nf
shell.nf
shell.no
shell.co.nz
shell.org.nz
shell.co.om
shell.com.om
shell.biz.pk
shell.com.pk
shell.edu.pk
shell.net.pk
shell.org.pk
shell.web.pk
shell.ps
shell.com.pa
shell.com.pg
shell.com.py
shell.com.pe
shell.org.pe
shell.com.ph
shell.net.ph
shell.org.ph
shell.ph
shell.co.pn
shell.pn
shell.com.pl
shell.pl
shell.com.pt
shell.pt
shell.com.pr
shell.net.pr
shell.org.pr
shell.com.qa
shell.re
shell.arts.ro
shell.com.ro
shell.firm.ro
shell.org.ro
shell.ro
shell.store.ro
shell.com.ru
shell.net.ru
shell.org.ru
shell.pp.ru
shell.rw
shell.com.sv
shell.sm
shell.st
shell.com.sa
shell.sn
shell.com.sc
shell.net.sc
shell.sc
shell.gs
shell.com.sg
shell.sg
shell.lk
shell.sk
shell.co.za
shell.com.es
shell.es
shell.sr
shell.sz
shell.se
shell.ch
shell.com.tw
shell.com.tj
shell.web.tj
shell.co.th
shell.in.th
shell.com.tp
shell.tp
shell.co.tt
shell.tt
shell.my.tj
shell.com.tr
shell.tv
shell.ae
shell.co.ug
shell.ug
shell.co.uk
shell.org.uk
shell.com.ua
shell.ua
shell.com.uy
shell.us
shell.co.uz
shell.com.uz
shell.uz
shell.co.ve
shell.com.ve
shell.com.vn
shell.com.vc
shell.vc
shell.co.vi
shell.aero
shell.biz
shell.com
shell.info
shell.name
shell.co.yu
shell.co.zw
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005)
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 4 – PART B
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names applied for by the Complainant
(awaiting registration) (as at May 2005)
ANNEX 4 – PART B
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names applied for by the Complainant
(awaiting registration) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 5
Results of a “Google” search combining the terms
“royal dutch shell” and “single board”
February 2005
ANNEX 6
Item posted by the Respondent on the Complainant’s website
on 29 November 2004
The full text of this posting (made on the “Tell Shell” page of the www.shell.com public website) is as follows:
Alfred Donovan of RoyalDutchShellplc.com (AKA ShellNews.net)
LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR RE SHELL'S BUSINESS PRINCIPLES 29 Nov 2004 21:28
THE ENTIRE LETTER TO PRIME MINSTER BLAIR CAN BE ACCESSED ON THE HOME PAGE OF THE WORLDS MOST COMPREHENSIVE SOURCE OF SHELL NEWS & INFORMATION – www.ShellNews.net
EXTRACTS (WHICH MAY BE OF INTEREST TO TIPPI T WALSH WHO HAS COINCIDENTLY RAISED THE SUBJECT OF SHELL'S STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES):
Dear Prime Minister
A company that I co-founded sent a fax to you on 6th May 1997 (copy enclosed) concerning the Codes of Practice/Citizens Charters promoted by many organisations and businesses. We warned that our enquiries with Leading Counsel and other parties had revealed that they were unregulated and not subject to any law. This situation also applies to Social Corporate Responsibility Reports.
As a result, management of multinationals such as Shell can cloak themselves in fine words and stirring promises designed to generate confidence, trust and investment. In this connection, when we wrote to you, we quoted from a speech given by Shell Chairman Mark Moody-Stuart when he referred to Shell’s core principles – “of honesty, integrity and respect for people” with an almost religious fervour. He vowed: “We do not bend these Principles. They are non-contestable and non-negotiable.”
This is the same man who is a defendant in multi-billion dollar class action law suits alleging fraud in respect of Shell’s energy reserves scandal and gross human rights abuses in Nigeria including association with the hanging of the renowned Ogoni peace activist and Nobel Laureate, Ken Saro-Wiwa and his equally innocent colleagues.
A speech given by a Shell executive, Mr Adrian Loader, on 23 February 2004 entitled “Putting principles into practice” is highly apposite to the subject of this letter. At the start of his speech at a business seminar in Singapore focusing on “Developing Corporate Social Responsibility”, Mr Loader quoted at length from a code of practice which his audience naturally thought was Shell’s SGBP’s. The language was indeed forthright and very similar in many respects to that used by Shell management as per the stirring examples already indicated. Mr Loader then sprung a surprise on his audience. He said that every word was taken directly from the Enron Corporation Code of Ethics.
Mr Loader claimed that he had not intended “to poke fun at the high minded aspirations of another energy company, but to remind us that high minded aspirations are just that – high minded aspirations – unless they have the benefit of a corporate culture that is fully committed to putting its aspirations into practice”. It is an unfortunate irony that within literally a matter of days after his speech, the then Group Chairman of Shell, Sir Philip Watts, was forced to resign in disgrace and that following the subsequent release of internal incriminating emails concerning the reserves cover-up at the highest level of his management, Shell’s reputation is now on a par with the likes of Enron and WorldCom in terms of global odium and notoriety.
Shell circulated to its shareholders earlier this year “The Shell Report 2003”. A section on page 25 is devoted to Shell's reputation. Alongside the hype about survey results carried out in 2003, is an endorsement of Shell's ethical policies by “Transparency International” -which promotes business ethics and, as its name implies, “transparency”. The organisation's endorsement was within the stated context of the so-called “Panels of external experts”, who “gave their independent views of how well Shell has performed.” All very impressive! What was not disclosed is that George Moody-Stuart, an Executive Committee member of the organisation (and its former Chairman) is the brother of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a current director of Shell Transport. Shell shareholders might have been less impressed by the so-called “independent” ethics endorsement if they had known about that undeclared connection: so much for transparency.
I pointed out the questionable basis of this “independent” endorsement to the Head of Corporate Governance at The Association of British Insurers (I also sent a copy of the email to Shell directors). To my surprise Shell Legal Director/General Counsel, Richard Wiseman, mistakenly sent me a copy of his subsequent related internal email to his senior colleagues, Jeroen van der Veer, Chairman of the Committee of Group Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group (now Chief Executive of Royal Dutch/Shell) and his Vice Chairman, Group Managing Director, Malcolm Brinded.
Mr Wiseman's email, dated 24 June 2004 stated: “I am getting PX to send out our usual response to the association of British Insurers. I will also let Mark Moody-Stuart know that Donovan is now accusing Mark's brother of being in on the act.” Although the tone was disparaging it is revealing and flattering to know that (a) my comments reverberate and clearly generate concern right at the very top of Shell and (b) Shell management has a defence strategy in place ready to react instantly to my humble initiatives. I suspect that you will be hearing from them shortly.
The scandal was recently described in the BBC TV Money Programme as the biggest investor fraud in history. The following words and phrases were used in relation to the Shell reserves scandal during the course of the programme: –
“deceit”; “false pretences”; “falsely exaggerating”; “misled the world”; “basically they had been told a lie”; “embellished on the numbers”; “exaggerated the numbers”; “basically we lied to you”; “cover it up”; “doctoring the books”; “inventing numbers”; “certifying the reserve which he knows doesn’t exist”; “reserves replacement and production growth were inflated”; “I am becoming sick and tired of lying about the extent of our reserves”; “cover-up”; “actually destroyed documents”; “the scandal blew up and the company’s reputation carefully nurtured over a century was destroyed”; “Shell has lied intentionally and deceived the public”; “now they know that Shell lied to them and cost them money”; “a fraud perpetrated over a long period of time”; “a fraud perpetrated by the very heads of the company”.
Please note that there was none of the usual caveats which normally precede written statements which would otherwise be labelled as libellous: e.g. “allegedly”. The above descriptions were applied without any such qualification. They were put on record as matters of FACT.
Shell’s SGBP’s played an important role in the scandal as did the Shell Managements propensity to cover-up and deceive – the exact unconscionable failings which we had drawn to your attention. This is not a matter of conjecture or hurling unfounded allegations. Lord Oxburgh, the new Chairman of Shell Transport And Trading Co plc has “apologised unreservedly” for the “inappropriate departure” from Shell’s “Business Principles” in relation to the reserves scandal.
He has touchingly described the lies of Shell management (when, for example it inflated Shell’s future reserves by a $100 billion) as being “economical with the information”. In addition to the apologies and admittances from its management, we also have the incontrovertible evidence of the infamous internal emails at the highest levels of Shell which leave no room for doubt that those involved knew that they were engaged in a cover-up. “Dynamite” was the term used in one email.
You did however take our concerns seriously about the flaw in Codes of Practice which we drew to your personal attention. Following the reply from your Correspondence Secretary we subsequently received a letter from The Office of Fair Trading responding on your behalf. They seemed to share our concerns to a significant extent. The writer, Mary O’Driscoll, hoped that it might be possible to bring about an improvement in standards on a voluntary basis but ended by stating that if necessary “we will have to consider more formal regulatory measures, such as statutory backing for codes”. However, as far as I am aware, nothing has changed in regards to the lack of any legal or regulatory control. Such Codes of practice remain a Confidence Tricksters Charter.
This brings me back appropriately to Shell’s reserves scandal. Shell has, as indicated, paid US$150 million in fines to the SEC and the FSA after restating its reserves on four occasions. It has subsequently warned that a further restatement is in prospect.
1. During the Class Period Shell management: (a) Issued false reports; (b) Overstated its reserves replacement ratio; (c) Concealed adverse facts concerning the Companies operations; (d) Artificially inflated the market price of Royal Dutch and Shell Transport securities; (e) Singly and in concert, the Group Defendants engaged in a common plan, scheme, and unlawful course of conduct… that operated as a fraud and deceit..; (f) Overstated future cash flows by over $100 BILLION.
2. The fraud resulted in impairment of the Shell Group’s credit ratings.
3. Shell has not disputed the conclusion that their top management not only knew of the overstated reserves but played for time…
4. Defendants Watt’s, Moody-Stuart, van den Bergh, van der Veer, Skinner, Brinded, Boynton, Miller, van de Vijver and Roels, authorised or signed the filing of Form 20-F to the US Securities & Exchange Commission knowing that the reports were materially false or recklessly disregarded their truth or falsity. To quote from the Amended Complaint: “Each Defendant named in this Count has engaged in some or all of the unlawful acts, transactions and activities alleged herein, including the preparation and/or distribution of false and misleading proxy materials…”
5. During the tenure of defendant, Mark Moody-Stuart, the Shell Group created five “Value Creation Teams”, one of which was tasked with “creating the maximum value from Shell’s hydrocarbon reserves.”
6. There were financial incentives for Shell executives to overstate reserves. Notably, reference was made to the core Shell business principle of “transparency” by Defendant Watts in the following exchange with Bloomberg’s Mr Guy Collins on 8 February 2002: –
COLLINS: I want to ask you about Enron and any parallels there. Do you have any off balance sheet liabilities? Do you have trigger mechanisms in place that make you vulnerable to changes in the share price or credit ratings?
WATTS: Shell is very different from Enron. We were criticized for that some time ago and I’m glad we have a absolutely rock-solid way we do business. And, if you read our annual report, you read our footnotes and all the details, everything is in there. It’s all completely transparent, as far as Shell is concerned.
The reality was very far removed from the pious pledges of transparency and integrity: On 9 November 2003 Royal Dutch Shell Group Managing Director/Boss of Exploration & Production, van de Vijver, sent the following infamous email to the Group Chairman, Sir Philip Watts complaining that he was: –
“becoming sick and tired about lying about the extent of our reserves issues and the downward revisions that need to be done because of far too aggressive/optimistic bookings.”
EXPLOITATION OF THE OGONI PEOPLE: I was stationed in Palestine in the 1930’s. I regret to say that the Arabs were treated with distain and generally viewed as being second class citizens in their own Countries. How things have changed. The Arabs were sitting on top of the worlds largest oil reserves. Quite correctly, citizens in the oil rich Arab nations have benefited from their own natural resources and are now among the wealthiest people in the world. They have considerable power, influence and respect.
It is impossible to reconcile that situation with what has happened in Nigeria where the population has been oppressed and exploited by Shell and successive Nigerian regimes and Ogoniland has been subjected to long term ecological degradation. While the Ogoni people sit on top of oil fields, but remain abysmally poor, Sir Philip Watts sits on an $18 million (US dollar) pension pot. It is simply obscene and indefensible. After yet another document meant for consumption solely by Shell management was leaked to the press in mid June, Shell was forced to admit that its actions in Nigeria fed “a vicious cycle of violence and corruption”.
SUMMING UP: What this all boils down to is that Shell’s SGBP’s has been used as the ethical foundation of the Royal Dutch Shell Group. That important platform has been widely promoted and exploited. Because such codes are free of scrutiny and regulation Shell management has been able to cloak their actions in fine but worthless words. To put it bluntly they have been able to hoodwink the public, suppliers, investors (including pensioners), employees and other parties with impunity based on SGBP’s pledges.
With the greatest respect, that loophole should now be closed.
I hope you will feel it appropriate for the government to eradicate this dream device for those wishing to deceive. It would undoubtedly be in the best interest of the public and other interested parties including investors and pension holders.
Yours sincerely
Alfred Donovan
Documents referred to in the letter can be accessed on ShellNews.net – links at foot of web-posted letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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