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.
Posts from ‘May, 1998’
Any business contemplating becoming a partner in the SMART consortium scheme is hereby notified that any such participation may involve an infringement of rights, rendering it liable to legal action. For further information, see our website at: www.don-marketing.com
SHELL SMART LEGAL NOTICE
MARKETING WEEK MAGAZINE
Shell: Don is more than ‘disgruntled’
Picture Caption: Shell: Don Marketing’s battle over the Smart concept is its fourth High Court action against the UK company
I am writing in response to Alan Mitchell’s article about the key to loyalty card survival (MWMay 14).
He mentioned Shell’s aspiration to reach 8 million members within a year “legal battles with disgruntled sales promotion agencies permitting” – a reference to our High Court action against Shell. “Disgruntled” is not the description I would choose.
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Marketing Week: Shell faces new threat to Smart card scheme
Picture Caption: Smart Card: Station mailing threat
21 May 1998
Don Marketing, the sales promotion agency embroiled in a legal wrangle with Shell UK, is threatening to send letters to Shell’s 1,700 service stations warning owners about the-legal implications of operating the Smart card scheme.
Managing director John Donovan intends to send a “letter before action” to a sample station – Tim Brinton Cars in Bury St Edmunds – then roll out the mailing to the entire network at a later date.
Having been caught red-handed stealing our intellectual property, Shell settled by making a substantial payment to us. Frankly we were shocked at the arrogance, lies and subterfuge.
Shell's Smart card - currently the subject of a High Court dispute over its copyright - is being extended to cover 25 brand partners.
7 May 1998
Marketing: Shell broadens base
Shell’s Smart card – currently the subject of a High Court dispute over its copyright – is being extended to cover 25 brand partners.
Card holders in much of the UK can currently only collect points at Shell or John Menzies and redeem them at Shell, UCI cinemas, John Menzies, and Super-Bowl.
But following a year-long test in Scotland, consumers can now collect points on purchases from Vision Express, Avis Rent A Car, Vauxhall, Hilton Hotels, British Gas and others.
"Any impartial assessment of the evidence would show that the case is indefensible on Shell's part," says Don Marketing managing director John Donovan. "This is a matter of principle. One of the largest companies in the world shouldn't need to steal ideas from promotional agencies.
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Forecourt Trader: Don’s Smart writ
Shell UK is being sued for allegedly breaching copyright on the idea it used to create Shell Smart Card, its loyalty programme.
John Donovan, managing director of Don Marketing UK, has issued the High Court Writ alleging that the current Smart scheme operated by Shell is based on a proposal that his company disclosed to the oil company in confidence. The writ also alleges breach of contract.
In 1989, Donovan’s company presented the idea of a multibrand loyalty card scheme to Paul King, who at that time was Shell UK’s national promotions manager. In July 1990, Shell took the option.
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Promotions & Incentives: Shell stands firm on Smart charges
Shell will defend itself against claims by its former promotional agency Don Marketing, that it came up with Shell’s Smart consortium idea.
Don Marketing director, John Donovan, issued a writ against Shell on 9 April claiming multi-million pound damages.
Shell and Don Marketing have been discussing the allegations since Shell’s AGM last year. Both parties have assembled evidence and interviewed witnesses in the interim.
The action relates to proposals Don Marketing claims to have put to Shell in 1989 for a “multi brand” loyalty scheme. The agency claims it went as far as seeking out potential partners, including Tesco and Sainsbury’s before Shell said it did not wish to proceed with the idea in 1990.
Sales Promotion Magazine
Shell in legal row
SP agency’s claims over Smart Card cause troubled water for oil company
A promotional agency is suing Shell (UK) for allegedly breaching copyright on the concept idea Shell used to create its multipartner Smart Card loyalty scheme.
The allegation follows two previously unpublished out- of-court settlements which were kept secret as part of the agreement reached by the two sides.
The legal dispute between Shell and Don Marketing could delay the card programme even further – its launch was originally planned for the end of last year before partners failed to agree on a date.
Loyalty Magazine: Shell Smart copyright battle gets nastier
John Donovan, a director of Don Marketing UK ltd, believes he owns the copyright to the Shell Smart loyalty scheme. He has been involved in protracted legal wrangling with Shell UK and last month issued a High Court writ when talks broke down. Recently he decided to write to all Shell partners and petrol station managers warning them they may face legal action if they participate in the scheme. Donovan spoke to Loyalty about why he believes the copyright is his.
The advertisement in Marketing Week states that “Any business contemplating becoming a partner in the SMART consortium scheme is hereby notified that any such participation may involve an infringement of rights, rendering it liable to legal action.” It refers interested parties to its web site at www.don-marketing. com.
John Donovan is stepping up pressure on one of the largest company in the world, in his fight for recognition that he thought of the Shell Smart Card idea first.
That David is taking on Goliath is obvious, and in itself proof of the depth of feeling that the small man has been wronged.