High Court papers show ‘secret’ Shell writ losses

High Court papers have revealed that Shell has already lost three copyright battles with the promotional agency that issued a High Court writ against it two weeks ago.

The details of the out-of-court settlements have, until now, remained secret as part of the agreement reached by the two sides.

In its latest legal action, Don Marketing is suing Shell for allegedly breaching its copyright on the concept idea used to create Shell’s Smart card loyalty scheme, which is being tested in Scotland. All three previous cases hinged on the same claim of infringement.

Additional papers, lodged with the High Court writ, show that in 1996, Shell settled two cases brought by Don Marketing “on terms favourable to the plaintiff”. In both cases, one a Nintendo-themed promotion, the other a Hollywood-themed promotion, the agency claimed that Shell had used its ideas, given in confidence in 1992, without either crediting the agency or paying for such use.

In a third case, Shell paid “a substantial sum” to settle a legal action in April 1994. It resulted from the re-use of the “Make Money” promotion, which Don Marketing first ran for Shell in 1981.

Don Marketing is demanding a multimillion pound settlement in the Smart case. But Shell, which has 14 days after the writ’s issue to respond, says: “We are filing a defence and possibly a counter claim.”

News Analysis, page 21

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here