Institute (organization)

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An institute (also an institution ) in the sense of an organization can be a cultural , artistic , economic or scientific institution for teaching and research .

The term was borrowed from the Latin institutum ("facility") in the 18th century . Its use is restricted by German case law only in certain cases in which it is an independent legal personality . Beyond that, however, the term is not legally protected.

Teaching and research institutions

Institutes are often part of a faculty of a university or an academy (in-institutes). Affiliated institutes are independent institutions with their own legal capacity , often in the form of a limited liability company or a registered association , which have concluded a cooperation agreement with a university.

This designation institute for a teaching and research facility goes back to the 18th century. At that time, private schools used to refer to themselves as institutes. In the decades around 1900 the term “seminar” was often used, for example “philological seminar”. Many of these seminars were later renamed “Institute”. In the humanities in particular, however, the term “seminar” is still common today (e.g. “historical seminar”, “Germanistic seminar”).

Even today, an institute is often an institution with its own constitution, which serves scientific work such as research or teaching or education. Due to the freedom of science, however, a form of organization under private law is also permitted and makes sense, so they are often organized as a foundation or association . For example, opinion research institutes are typically research organizations and at the same time profit-oriented companies.

Institutes in lobbying and public relations

It is helpful for lobbying and public relations to scientifically substantiate one's own positions. Therefore there are a number of private law organizations that call themselves institutes, but which are also part of the public relations work and lobbying of interest groups. The name “institute” alone does not distinguish between scientific and economic activity.

Examples of institutes whose work is also public relations work for interest groups:

In cases in which there is a separate legal personality (such as a GmbH or a registered association), public authorities check the admissibility of the name. This test is not required if there is no legal personality.

Misleading “institute” in the name

German jurisprudence has regularly forbidden organizations with an independent legal personality to use the designation “institute” if the further design of the name falsely creates an impression of scientific or public sponsorship. Misleading can be ruled out if further name additions or other self-promotion correct incorrect assumptions (e.g. imprint ). Apart from cases of an independent legal personality, however, the jurisprudence does not have a handle, since the further use of language remains largely unregulated with regard to freedom of speech and expression . If the name “institute” is to be used in the name of the association, admissibility depends on the purpose of the association and the intended activity as well as the qualifications of the association's staff.

The use of the word “institute” in the name of associations has been decided by a higher court. The Higher Regional Court of Celle and the Bavarian Supreme Regional Court have taken a position on the question of whether clubs may use this suffix . The BayObLG considered the name “Institute for Tax Information” to be a misleading association with its seat in a university town . The OLG Celle did not consider the name "Schiller Institute for Republican Foreign Policy" to be misleading. The latter found the investigation of the possibility of misleading necessary only if an indication of activity is added to the name, which is normally the subject of scientific research. The name and the activity must clearly show that it has no scientific activity or that it has to be on a par with a university institute in terms of seriousness and scientificity.

The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court has ruled that the use of the term institute for an association of medical specialists is also misleading.

Commercial institutes

Many non-scientific, private-sector companies also use the designation institute . Predominantly these are service providers whose customers place particular emphasis on reliability. For example, terms such as undertaker (instead of undertaker), marriage initiation institute (instead of marriage brokerage) and massage institute (instead of massage practice or “massage parlor”) are common. In some cases the name says nothing about the form, type and quality of the company. It is used for marketing purposes only .

The terms credit institution and financial services institution , on the other hand, are defined by law ( Section 1 (1) and (1a ) KWG ) and have corresponding - u. a. regulatory - consequences. Replacing the word bank with the term credit institution is correct: all banks are credit institutions.

Web links

Wiktionary: Institute  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Anette Auberle (Ed.): The dictionary of origin - Etymology of the German language . 3., completely reworked. and exp. Edition Dudenverlag, Mannheim, Leipzig, Vienna, Zurich 2001, ISBN 978-3-411-04073-5 , pp. 365 .
  2. Meyers Konversationslexikon from 1888, term "institute".
  3. Licher beer on
  4. ^ Institute for Sports Nutrition eV - Healthy Enjoyment Initiative
  5. BayObLG Rpfleger 1990 p. 407, according to which a job title must be attached, and on the other hand BayObLG NJW-RR 1990 p. 1125 on inadmissibility; s. a. BGH NJW-RR 1987 p. 735: question of the individual case
  6. OLG Celle, decision of April 30, 1985, Az. 1 W 9/85 = OLGZ 1985, 266–269; Rpfleger 1985, 303-304.
  7. BayObLG, decision of April 26, 1990 , Az. BReg 3 Z 167/89 = DB 1990, 1661; MDR 1990, 824-825; NJW -RR 1990, 1125-1126; BWV 1992, 38-39.
  8. OLG Frankfurt, judgment of April 27, 2001 , Az. 20 W 84/01, full text = OLG Report Frankfurt 2001, 208.
  9. Federal Court of Justice, judgment of February 26, 1987 , Az. 1 615/86.