20(a) Provide the name and full description of the community that the applicant is committing to serve
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* DELINEATION *
The GmbH Community and its members are clearly and sharply delineated because they (i) are all entities, (ii) are all registered in official registers and (iii) are operating, representing or overseeing a company or companies with the legal form of a GmbH as described in #18.
The GmbH Community includes regulatory authorities, courts, institutions, associations, chambers and the GmbH companies tehmselves. The core of the community are the companies with the legal form of a GmbH.
* STRUCTURE and ORGANIZIATION *
The GmbH Community is well organized along the lines of the following model:
Layer 1 – Governments (Oversight)
The governments of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are the guardian and oversight and regulatory bodies of the national legislation regarding companies with the legal form of a GmbH. The governments have also installed the official company registers where GmbH companies need to be registered and operate services regarding administrative needs of GmbH companies.
Layer 2 – Chambers and Associations (Representation)
Chambers and associations play an important role in the distribution and dissemination of information from the legislative bodies of layer 1 to the GmbH companies and in the lobbying of the interests of GmbH companies in the public and opposite to the governments. In some countries like Austria and Germany the GmbH companies are mandatory member of a chamber.
Layer 3 – The GmbH companies (Operation)
These are the sole companies with the legal form of a GmbH.
* General *
A GmbH is formed in three stages: the founding association, which is regarded as a private partnership with full liability of the founding partners⁄members; the founded company (often styled as ʺGmbH i.G.ʺ, with ʺi.G.ʺ standing for in Gründung – literally ʺin the founding stagesʺ, with the meaning of ʺregistration pendingʺ); and finally the fully registered GmbH. Only the registration of the company in the Commercial Register (Handelsregister) provides the GmbH with its full legal status. The founding act and the articles of association have to be notarized. The GmbH law outlines the minimum content of the articles of association, but it is quite common to have a wide range of
additional rules in the articles.
* ESTABLISHMENT and ACTIVITIES *
The GmbH Community as described above exists since over 100 years in Austria and Germany and over 70 years in Liechtenstein and Switzerland (http:⁄⁄en.wikipedia.org⁄wiki⁄Gmbh). The activities of the GmbH Community include all facets of political and economic activities with regards to GmbH’s including legislation, parliamentary hearing, large events and conferences, publication of information, annual reports, scientific research and others. The topic of GmbH companies is integral part of the daily business in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
* SIZE, MEMBERSHIP and GEOGRAPHIC EXTENT *
The GmbH Community comprises of about 1.4 million companies with the legal form of a GmbH in in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, thereof about 1.15 million in Germany.
The membership to the Community is clearly regulated by law in all the countries – you can only operate a GmbH and be member of the GmbH Community if you are officially registered. The publication of the registration data (GmbH business number) is done differently in the countries but all registers are publicly accessible.
An additional membership to the national or local Chambers of Commerce and Industry with individual costs is mandatory in Austria and German, not in Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
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