SUFFOLK-BASED sales promotion consultancy Don Marketing
won a comfortable first round victory in its High Court libel action against Shell UK
. The preliminary hearing ruled that Shell had a case to answer and awarded the costs of the hearing against the oil giant. The full trial will be heard before a jury at which Don will have the right to supoena Shell's top brass, including chairman Dr Chris E Fay. Don managing director John Donovan
is licking his lips at the prospect: 'It will become the 'McShell' case to follow in the footsteps of 'McLibel', he crowed in an outburst of premature triumphalism. The case was triggered by a long-running dispute between Don and Shell as to ownership of the intellectual rights to the ShellSmart card concept. Donovan claims ownership and issued a libel writ after Shell published a press statement saying it had investigated his claim and' was satisfied that it is entirely without substance'. This, Donovan alleges, caused damage to his reputation and personal anxiety and distress because it implied that he was pursuing a 'bogus' claim for compensation.