The public and experts understand the term as Professor not only as prestigious, but moreover as an expression of outstanding professional and technical competence. The professorship and thus also the abbreviation "prof." in front of the name is therefore also used specifically to increase income, according to the Higher Administrative Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, decision of 18. December 2019 – 19 B 5/19 -, juris.
The applicant in the proceedings should pay a coercive. Between May and June 2018, he had published on his website the designation "Prof." led. However, the responsible Ministry of Culture and Science had already prohibited him from doing so in 2015 by issuing a corresponding basic decree. The applicant had violated this prohibition.
The applicant wanted to defend himself with the objection, "he, as an ‘absolute IT layman’, had no knowledge of this fact and the use of the designation "Prof." was not permitted.The applicant’s claim that the "lack of compliance" is solely due to the – not attributable to him – breach of duty of his IT service provider, who, contrary to his (the applicant’s) instructions, apparently did not revise the Internet presence in accordance with the requirements of the MKW NRW"(loc. cit. 4). The Higher Administrative Court did not accept this defense from him. The judges based their decision on § 7 para. 1 TMG reference and thus at the content responsibility of the applicant as operator.