Application no. 6549/02
by Anton STELE
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 2 March 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J. Hedigan, President,
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr L. Caflisch,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mrs R. Jaeger,
Mr E. Myjer, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 26 March 2002,
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Anton Stele, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1939 and lives in Kamnik.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
1. First set of proceedings
The applicant was the director of an undertaking which produced candles. On 15 May 1995 the undertaking secured a patent for production of boxes for candles for the period of ten years.
On 29 June 1995 the applicant, in his executive capacity, instituted civil proceedings with the Ljubljana District Court (Okrožno sodišče v Ljubljani) against a private entrepreneur S.D.J. for violating his property rights by an unauthorised production of boxes for candles based on the applicant’s patent. He also requested that the court issue an interim measure barring S.D.J. from distributing the products.
The court rejected the request for an interim measure.
On 19 September 1995 the applicant filed a rush notice.
On 4 October 1995 the court held a hearing.
On 8 April 1999 the applicant filed a supervisory complaint with the Ministry of Justice.
The proceedings are still pending.
2. Second set of proceedings
On 13 October 1995 S.D.J. instituted civil proceedings against the applicant in the Ljubljana District Court seeking annulment of the patent.
The court held a hearing on 16 May 2000 and decided to issue a written judgment.
It transpires from the case file that the judgment has not yet been served on the applicant.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that his right to a fair trial was violated by an excessive length of proceedings. He further complained about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of the excessive length of the proceedings. Lastly, he claimed that Article 1 of the Protocol No. 1 right was violated by failure to protect the applicant’s intellectual property rights.
On 26 January 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Lucijan BEMBIČ, Agent of the Republic of Slovenia, declare that – with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights - the Government of Slovenia offer to pay to Mr Anton Stele 2,200 euros (two thousand two hundred euros), converted into the national currency on the date of payment.
This sum shall cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses. It will be paid, free of any taxes that may be applicable, within three months from the notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to the Article 37 of the Convention...”
On 24 December 2005 the Court received the following letter in Slovenian language duly dated and signed by the applicant:
“... I inform the Court of my accepting the [Government’s] proposition for friendly settlement in the amount of 2,200 euros, payable in tolars. The said amount covers all material and immaterial damage as well as costs and expenses of the proceedings...”
The Court takes note of the agreement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention and Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court). Accordingly, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Vincent Berger John
STELE v. SLOVENIA DECISION
STELE v. SLOVENIA DECISION