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U.S. Courts: Shell in deepwater, accused of more IP theft (revised article)





By John Donovan

13 August 2008

Trawling the Internet seeking information about Court cases involving Shell, we stumbled across details of current litigation in the U.S. Courts against Shell International for alleged theft of Intellectual Property.

I personally know of several High Court Actions successfully brought against Shell on the same grounds, all by me. All resulted in media coverage.

Is Shell not concerned that it must be losing out from parties no longer willing to disclose ideas to the group because of its reputation as a serial poacher and predator of Intellectual Property?

A Texas Court of Appeals document dated 19 June 2007 reveals that Deep Water Slender Wells Ltd, James G. Wood and Preda Consultants Inc are suing Shell International Exploration & Production and its current or former employees, Jim Adam, Graham Brander and Mark Leonard.

Mark Leonard is President and Chief Executive of the Shell Deepwater division of Shell International.

The claim against Shell is based on alleged “misappropriation” (theft) of the plaintiffs’ alleged oilfield-technology trade secrets. The important subsidiary issue before the Court of Appeal related to legal jurisdiction i.e. whether the terms of a Consulting Agreement between the parties required litigation arising from any related dispute to be brought in the Netherlands. The terms of a related Confidentiality Agreement, which BP, Statoil and Elf exploration companies had signed, also came under consideration by the Court of Appeals in determining the jurisdiction issue.

We note many similarities with our own relationship with Shell. The Plaintiffs like us enjoyed a mutually beneficial business relationship that hit the rocks because of trickery and double dealing by a ruthless Shell management which has no respect whatsoever for the IP rights of smaller companies. 

When we raised a rumpus about being cheated by Shell, the group issued press releases and even put posters on display at Shell HQ buildings making personal allegations against us, including that we were making false claims (only to settle the same “false” claims at a later date).

In the current litigation, Shell and Mark Leonard are accused of defaming James G Wood personally and interfering with his companies’ business relationships with third parties, including BP. 

The following are extracts from the legal document:

“Although the Shell Parties knew that the opposite was true, Leonard and Shell International portrayed Wood in public as a flake, or worse, a dishonest person or criminal who was passing off Shell’s technology as his own.”

“Shell International committed fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, conversion of intellectual property, theft of trade secrets, and tortious interference with the Deep Water Parties’ business relationships and prospective business relationships.”

If James G Wood had seen a warning notice we circulated outside Shell HQ buildings 10 years ago, he and his companies might have been more cautious in their dealings with Shell management, which a decade later still happens to include some of the same dishonest hypocrites we had the misfortune to deal with, including David Pirret and Malcolm Brinded.

The following is the heading and first two paragraphs from the leaflet circulated in my fathers name (Alfred Donovan):


I caution all businesses contemplating trading with Shell UK Ltd to be on their guard. In my experience, they are masters of double talk and double-dealing. It has at times proved almost impossible to extract the truth from this company.

Bearing in mind that Shell has pirated a series of ideas that Don Marketing disclosed to them in confidence, I take the view that they should fly a “skull and crossbones” flag over Shell-Mex House as fair warning to all who enter.”

A picture displayed at the top of the leaflet graphically depicted Shell-Mex House flying a pirate’s flag from the roof.  For some reason, Shell legal director Richard Wiseman and his scurvy crew were not amused.

We have irrefutable documentary evidence that Shell senior management gave its full backing “to the highest levels” to corrupt Shell managers who conspired to cheat and deceive supplier companies drawn under false pretences into confidentiality agreements with Shell. I have the correspondence with Malcolm Brinded when I invited him to withdraw his backing for such evil activity. He refused to do so. Thus the signal went out that senior management had given a green light to steal Intellectual Property from companies who innocently disclosed commercially valuable information and ideas to Shell. 

As I have stated before, Shell is not rotten to the core, it was and remains rotten at the core. 

If what I have stated was untrue, Shell would have launched libel proceedings against me long ago. 

Our warnings about the dishonesty of Shell senior management were dismissed by many Shell employees who were unaware that the same unscrupulous executive directors were already at work behind the scenes laying the foundations for the oil reserves fraud. This was the scandal which brought an end to the Anglo Dutch partnership in its original form which had lasted for 100 years. 

It is our understanding from the Appeals Court legal document that the James G. Wood case is continuing in the USA with issues being further appealed and that an action against Shell is also being brought in the Netherlands.

For some unknown reason, all of the other U.S. court documents relating to this case appear to be sealed. We cannot access any of them even though we have authority to access and download court records using the U.S. Courts Pacer Service.

We hope that when the jurisdiction issue is resolved, Mr Wood is blessed with an unbiased trial Judge. Shell’s influence is insidious and far-reaching. 

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