Terms and Conditions of Use

Dear User,

Here you will find the General Terms and Conditions of Use (hereinafter also referred to as the “Terms and Conditions of Use”) for the “BQ portal” offered by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (hereinafter also referred to as “the provider”).

The General Terms and Conditions of Use are divided into

1.) General terms and conditions; and

2.) Terms and conditions for registered users (only visible after registration)


Part 1) General terms and conditions


1. Scope

  1. The Terms and Conditions of Use shall apply to all content and services offered on the pages of the BQ portal.
  2. The Terms and Conditions of use can be viewed on the Internet at any time and can be printed out. They shall apply to all one-off and ongoing services, unless any more specific provisions apply.
  3. Any terms of the user contrary to or deviating from these Terms and Conditions of Use shall not apply.
  4. The provider reserves the right to alter these Terms and Conditions of Use with future effect, e.g. in consideration of changes in the law, changes to the services or loopholes in the provisions. The provider will announce changes to the General Terms and Conditions of Use at least four weeks before such changes come into effect. The changes will become effective if the user does not contradict them within four weeks of the announcement. When announcing the changes, the provider will inform the user of his or her right to object and of the consequences of failure to object. If the user objects within the stated period, the previous contractual provisions shall continue to apply to the use of the services.


2. Provision of services

  1. No contractual relationship between the user and the provider shall arise as a result of the mere provision of free content by the provider of the BQ portal.
  2. The provider endeavours to operate the portal properly, but does not guarantee the portal’s uninterrupted availability and usability.
  3. The provider is entitled to terminate, upgrade or alter its service at any time after giving reasonable notice. Such changes may be required if – particularly outside the scope of the provider’s responsibility – the technical, legal or commercial conditions for the use of the Internet change and services are made considerably more difficult or no longer reasonable for the provider as a result of this.
  4. The information provided by the provider of the portal, by third parties appointed by the provider, or by the authorities responsible for assessing equivalence has been prepared to the best of the provider’s knowledge and having regard to a high duty of care. The provider accepts no responsibility for the correctness, completeness and up-to-dateness of the content provided anywhere in the BQ portal, however. The provider of the BQ portal is a service provider within the meaning of Section 7, paragraph 1 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG) and is responsible for the content of the portal in accordance with general law. Ultimate responsibility for assessing the information provided rests with the bodies responsible for assessing the equivalence of foreign diplomas as stipulated in the German Recognition Act (“Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Feststellung und Anerkennung im Ausland erworbener Berufsqualifikationen”).


3. Use of the services/access authorisation

  1. The BQ portal is a web-based information platform that provides information about foreign vocational training systems and German and foreign professional profiles, practical help with the work and evaluation procedures of the competent authorities in Germany and fundamental information about the assessment procedure.
  2. Access to some of the information stored in the portal and to specific functions is restricted and is only available to registered users (in particular the competent authorities). Special terms and conditions of use apply to these users.
  3. The following groups of people will be granted special rights of access to information in the password-protected area (reading, editing, writing or publishing information): Competent authorities within the meaning of Section 8 of the German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (“Gesetz über die Feststellung der Gleichwertigkeit von Berufsqualifikationen”) or other public bodies at the regional or national level such as the IHK FOSA (Foreign Skills Approval), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag, DIHK), the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH), the Federation of German Independent Professionals (BFB) etc., as well as other organisations and institutions operating in the field of assessing foreign diplomas after an individual examination.


4. Rights to content/copyrights

  1. The portal contains content (text, tables, graphics, images, videos, logos etc.) that has been created not only by the provider, but also by partners, contractors and users. This content is subject to the relevant applicable statutory protection, particularly trademark, copyright, ancillary copyright and competition law. Reproduction or any other use or exploitation of protected content is not generally permitted without the consent of the respective right holder.
  2. With a view to the decentralised, collaborative development of the content in the portal, particularly with regard to the information about country and professional profiles and about individual equivalence decision processes (individual cases), registered users are asked to review the content provided according to their access rights, and/or to supplement and update such information. As regards the rights to the content added to the portal by users, the special provisions for registered users shall be authoritative.


5. Limitations of liability, liability and warranty

  1. The provider does not guarantee the correctness, completeness or up-to-dateness of the information provided within the BQ portal and its associated services. Neither does the provider guarantee the results that can be achieved by using the information and offers, for example, within the scope of an assessment of equivalence by the competent authorities.
  2. Under no circumstances shall the provider be held liable for damage apart from that caused intentionally or through gross negligence. The above limitations and exclusions of liability shall not apply in the event that the provider's strict liability is prescribed by law, or in the event of injury to life, body and health, within the scope of application of the German Product Liability Act, and in cases where the provider assumes express guarantees. The above liability provisions shall apply mutatis mutandis to the provider’s liability in the event of breaches of duty by its statutory representatives or vicarious agents. If the provider’s liability is excluded or limited, this shall also apply with regard to the personal liability of its statutory representatives and vicarious agents.
  3. The operator of the BQ portal is a service provider within the meaning of Section 7, paragraph 1 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG) and is responsible for the content of the portal in accordance with general law. The following shall apply to third-party or linked content: As a service provider, the provider within the meaning of Sections 8 to 10 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG) is not obliged to monitor the information provided or stored by these pages, or to investigate circumstances that suggest an illegal activity. For this purpose, third-party content shall also include all information entered by partners or users of the portal. The provider assumes no liability for third-party or linked content. If the provider notices or receives information about violations of law or infringements of rights by third-party or linked content, the provider will block this content.


6. Data protection and disclosure of information

  1. The provider’s Privacy Policy for the BQ portal shall apply.
  2. The provider shall be entitled to pass on any information from and about users to third parties, insofar as it has a legal obligation to do so.


7. Applicable law, place of jurisdiction

  1. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany shall apply.
  2. The place of jurisdiction shall be Cologne, Germany.


8. Final provisions

  1. Should individual provisions of these General Terms and Conditions of Use be wholly or partially ineffective, the other terms and conditions shall not be affected hereby (severability clause).
  2. The General Terms and Conditions of Use in force at the time of use shall apply. The provider reserves the right to alter the Terms and Conditions of Use (see Part 1 – point 1.4).
  3. These Terms and Conditions of Use shall apply to the BQ portal. The supplementary terms and conditions (see Part 2) shall apply to registered users in addition to the preceding terms. If there are any contradictions, the supplementary terms for registered users shall prevail.



As of November 2012