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Don Marketing posts legal warning about Shell

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

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

Extract from pages 52 & 53

Extract Begins


In 1997, I confronted Shell about their launch in the UK of the SHELL SMART multi-brand loyalty card. This was long before the advent of the similar NECTOR scheme in the UK. Nearly twenty years later variations of the concept are still being run by Shell in numerous countries.

I devised the original concept and had disclosed the idea to Shell (via AJL) in strictest confidence.

Since it was a long-term promotion, which could be introduced into many countries, the Shell SMART case was by far the most important High Court action in terms of potential damages.

I also placed prominent announcements in various marketing and gasoline trade magazines directed at potential partners in the Shell SMART scheme, threatening to bring legal proceedings against them.

The announcements themselves became the subject of media coverage.

Article published by Marketing Week 26 May 1998 (Scroll down the linked pages to see examples of published warning notices):


Don Marketing posts warning about Shell

Don Marketing, the sales promotion agency alleging Shell breached copyright on the idea it used to create the Shell Smart card scheme, has placed an advertisement in this week’s Marketing Week warning businesses they may face legal action if they join the scheme.

Under the headline “Shell Smart Legal Notice”, the ad sets out the details of the court case and warns potential partners that participation in the scheme “may involve an infringement of rights, rendering it liable to legal action”.

Don Marketing Managing Director John Donovan has been forced by Shell’s legal department to revise a letter he planned to send to Shell’s 1,700 service stations (MWMay 21).

The revised “letter before action” will be sent to all Gulf stations which have not been rebranded as Shell and are not yet contracted into the Smart scheme with Shell.

Donovan says: “There is a problem with interfering with existing contracts, but we are setting our approach out in the letter.”

The letter will also be sent to Shell service stations to warn managers they will be liable to legal proceedings when the Smart card scheme ends, and also to dealers to warn they will be liable if they switch to another franchise brand.

Shell UK is adamant it will win the case when it reaches the High Court. Mike Harle, retail development manager for UK and Ireland, says: “We think the case is clear that the Shell Smart card scheme out there is not John Donovan’s, but ours. We believe we can prove this in court.”

Shell UK will keep its station owners informed of the legal proceedings.

Extracts from the John Donovan ebook end.


(While the dramatic cross-examination of Shell executive AJL was in progress and reaching a climax, Shell suddenly settled the high court litigation brought by John Donovan in relation to SHELL SMART and related libel actions. Shell paid all legal costs said to be over £1 million pounds and John Donovan received a secret payment as part of the settlement, the full terms of which were deliberately withheld by Shell from the Judge, the late Mr Justice Laddie. The judge made comments at the end of the trial unaware of the terms of settlement. The comments made by the judge later triggered a repudiation of the settlement by Shell.)


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

Donovan Defamation Actions Against Shell

Shell in legal row over Smart Card

Defamatory Posters on Display at Shell HQ


399 Former Shell Malaysia Employees Sued Shell for Misappropriation of Retirement Funds

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

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