According to an article in Chemical and Engineering News
this week, seven U.S.-educated scientists working in Germany have been
charged with impersonating a doctor because they used "Dr." before
their names on Web sites and business cards. The maximum penalty for
the crime is one year in jail.
German law, it says here,
prohibits anyone who didn’t receive their doctorate from a German or
European Union institution from using the title "Dr." One of the
scientists interviewed for the article was able to get the charge
dismissed, but others are still waiting. "More than
anything, this is a big annoyance," says David G. Heckel, a director at
the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology who earned his Ph.D. at Stanford, and one of the scientists who’s been charged. "But there is also the
uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen."
You can read the full article here.