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Donovan Defamation Actions Against Shell

Extracts from the ebook “John Donovan, Shell’s Nightmare” (now available on Amazon websites globally)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT SHELL’S 25 YEAR FEUD WITH JOHN DONOVAN – which puts the extract below in overall context.

From pages 46 & 47

Extracts Begin

A number of news articles were published in relation to the libel proceedings against Shell.

Marketing Week 31 March 1994: Shell faces libel threat from Don

Marketing Magazine 20 April 1995: Don Marketing founder Alfred Donovan has issued a libel writ against Shell UK.

Marketing Week 21 April 1995: Shell faces libel action as Don’s founder issues writ

Promotions & Incentives May 1995: Donovan issues Shell libel writ

Forecourt News April 1995: Don Marketing has issued a writ for libel against Shell

Marketing 25 May 1995: Shell has confirmed that its senior management will hold talks with Don Marketing


Shell has confirmed that its senior management will hold talks with Don Marketing to resolve legal actions between the two. Don has issued a libel writ, a high-court action and a small-claims case against Shell in a two-year struggle over two disputed promotions.

Shell settled the libel action in the overall financial transaction worth £125,000 I have already mentioned.

In April 1998, we issued further libel proceedings against Shell, this time in my name. The lawsuit was in respect of a Shell press release relating to the subsequent Shell SMART loyalty card litigation.

The story was covered in a Marketing Magazine article published 30 April 1998 under the headline:

Donovan brings new Shell writ

John Donovan, the sales promotion agency managing director who is suing Shell for copyright infringement over its Smart Card loyalty scheme, has served another writ on the oil company, this time for libel.

Donovan, whose agency, Don Marketing, has already brought three copyright actions against Shell, is suing over a press statement the oil firm released in response to his latest copyright writ.

Shell responded to the writ, served two weeks ago, by saying it was satisfied that “the claim … is entirely without substance”.

Donovan says that this implies he is bringing a claim which is “wholly bogus and false”. The libel writ claims damages on the basis that Donovan’s reputation has been gravely damaged and that he has “suffered acute anxiety and distress”.

A spokeswoman for Shell said: “All we have done is defend our position when publicly attacked by Don Marketing.”

Marketing Week published an article the same day, 30 April 1998, mentioning the second writ in relation to the Smart scheme, which was issued on Friday 24 April 1998:



Don Marketing has issued the writ over the disputed idea dating back to 1989, together with a further writ, issued last Friday, claiming that its managing director John Donovan has been defamed in a Shell press statement (MW April 16 and 23).

Don Marketing’s second writ alleges that last week a Shell press statement defamed Donovan. It seeks damages and an injunction to prevent Shell from making further claims about him.


Headline to Letter

Shell: Don is more than ‘disgruntled’

Extracts from the content

The multimillion pound claim in respect of the Smart consortium concept operated by Shell in the UK and in several other countries is not our first High Court action against Shell UK. It is the fourth. All involve breach of confidence and/or breach of contract. All involve the same Shell UK national promotions manager. It has been going on for five drawn out years.

Shell reveals plans for challenging Smart writ

I also want to set the record straight regarding a statement issued by Shell UK on or around April 21 1998 in which it gave the impression that I am a vexatious litigant, who issues High Court actions in respect of bogus claims. In fact, Shell has already settled the first three actions in our favour.

I even received an unsolicited letter of apology from Dr Fay, the chairman of Shell UK, admitting that its dealings with us did not meet “the high standards we set ourselves and which our long relationship had led you to expect of us”. I have now issued libel proceedings against Shell UK for defamation in regard to its press statement.

As Shell is well aware, we were not the only sales promotion agency which complained to Shell UK about the business practices of the relevant manager. Even its retained promotions agency eventually refused to disclose confidential information in his presence. We are, however, the only agency which has been brave enough (or foolish enough) to take on one of the world’s leading multi- national Goliaths.

Extracts from the John Donovan ebook ends.

(Shell later settled the high court litigation brought in relation to SHELL SMART and the libel actions.


John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Genesis

John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare: Süddeutsche Zeitung article

GERMAN TV: John Donovan’s revelations cost Shell billions


How Shell lost its majority stake in Sakhalin II

John Donovan, Group Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC companies

Donovan family relationship with Shell

Long association with the Royal Dutch Shell

Since the 1990s, Shell has been at war with John Donovan

An unscrupulous Shell executive


Secret Shell Writ Losses

Shell caught red-handed in Make Money deception

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

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