ISSUE-38 (Registered what?): Name of the vocab formerly known as Core Business Vocabulary, currently called Legal Entity [Organization Ontology]

ISSUE-38 (Registered what?): Name of the vocab formerly known as Core Business Vocabulary, currently called Legal Entity [Organization Ontology]

Raised by: Phil Archer
On product: Organization Ontology

The WG recently resolved to change the name of the 'Core Business Vocabulary' as the term was considered too broad and misleading. No objections anywhere.

However, it turns out that the choice of what to rename it to was unfortunate. I'd like to resolve this as part of the ORG to LC debate to clarify the relationship with it (although this does not in any way affect ORG itself).

A legal entity can be created in a variety of ways including things like royal charters (BBC), international treaties (UN) and acts of parliament etc. This idea is encapsulated fully in org:FormalOrganization.

The 'business vocabulary' is very specifically about things formed through an act of registration. That's why the identifier issue is so important. You can be a legal entity and not have an identifier. The same is not true for a registered company.

So... the issue is what do we call this so that it reflects what we mean and makes clear the distinction between its primary class and org:FormalOrganization of which it is a sub class. 

We want to cover *any* entity, whether for profit or not, that takes on legal status by virtue of being registered with an appropriate authority.

I asked Rigo Wenning (W3C's legal counsel) for advice. He sent his mail to the public list but I see that, for whatever reason, it didn't get added to the archive so I'll post it below. Bottom line: his recommendation is that we call them 'Registered Commercial Entities.' 

However... in various internal threads, Sandro makes the point that the word 'Commercial' suggests that we exclude non-profits - which we don't want to do. Taking as a reference point and going backwards and forwards, I end up with a small number of suggestions, all of which include the word 'registered' as this is the key point. An issue is the word 'corporate'. Does that only apply to for-profit organisations in your mind? If so, it's wrong. If not, it's probably right.

1. Registered business entity (recommended by Rigo)

2. Registered corporate entity (in line with Sandro's view).

3. Registered legal entity (perhaps a little vague?)

4. Registered business (perhaps seems to exclude non-profits)

Rigo's advice below.

Hi Phil, 

you asked me internally on my opinion concerning the classification 
and naming of entities in company registers. 

My suggestion is to call them 'Registered Commercial Entities'. 
Below is a rationale of why I want to call them this way:

You told me some would like to call those "legal entities". But the 
concept of legal entity is much broader. It encompasses natural 
persons that have legal status by their mere existence and legal 
persons that are born out of some social construct like an 
association statute or a contract of corporation. 

Company registers serve the need for trust in the business world. 
They contain among other things essential counts and balance sheets 
of companies, their address, status, responsible persons and 
liability limitations. 

Note that by definition, there can't be a 'Registered Commercial 
Entity' registered in the company register that is not a legal 
entity. So 'legal entity' is clearly a more general classification 
and 'registered commercial entities' are a special subclass of legal 
entities with very well defined properties. Those properties depend 
on the requirements for registration and can be different from 
country to country in the EU. The fact that the legal entity is 
registered means they have successfully accomplished a formal 
procedure for registration. The fact that an entity was erased from 
the register has also a very significant meaning. It tells us that 
the entity is out of business. 

Please don't hesitate to ask if further questions arise

 Rigo Wenning
 W3C Legal counsel

Received on Thursday, 18 October 2012 08:51:54 UTC