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Company stamp: What’s the legal value?

Tampon juridique
Thomas Choukroun

Thomas Choukroun

Content Manager @Yousign

Illustration: Studio Yousign

“Thump… thump… thump… thump… thump… thump…” Do you hear that disruptive noise coming from HR or from your manager’s office?
It sounds like your neighbour is trying to nail a granite fresco to the wall. That steady, unwanted thumping is actually the sound of your company stamp being applied to a contract. 
What’s its legal value? Can we do without it? Can we replace this thumping with more pleasant sounds? Get the answers to all (or almost all) these questions in this hushed article!

Company stamp: what’s that?

Before we can answer your burning questions, we need to start by defining what a company stamp is. For many of you, it can be summed up as “that noisy thing that stains your hands”. Well, just so you know:

  1. “That noisy thing that stains your hands” is called a corporate seal or seal of recognition for use by a business. .
  2. This corporate seal is governed by the French commercial code and has a number of requirements. ⚠

That’s right. That stamp that your co-workers nonchalantly place at the bottom of invoices, purchase orders, or any other commercial document must contain a certain amount of information. Without it, these documents might not be valid. For example, the corporate seal must include:

  • Company name
  • Legal status (SARL, SAS, SA, etc.)
  • Amount of share capital
  • Company address
  • Identification number (SIRET/SIREN)
  • Contact details (phone number, email address)
  • Liquidation procedure in progress (if applicable)

Of course, you or your company may choose to add other information.
Make no mistake, though: these mandatory details must appear on the commercial document that you send regardless of the form.

Having a company stamp would allow you to place all this information about your company directly in the heading of your official documents.
However, there’s still the question of the legal value of the company stamp

Legal value of the company stamp

Let’s be very clear from the start: the company stamp has no legal value and is not mandatory.

It’s therefore up to each company to decide whether to use one.
As you should realise by now, we’re sticklers for security. We at Yousign believe that all SMEs need to be fully informed about the challenges that they face so that they can find the best solution based on verifiable, concrete facts.

In addition to having no legal value (just to rub salt in the wound), the company stamp poses two real problems:

  1. The first isn’t very serious: If the document already contains the mandatory information, the company stamp would just repeat it. In that case, it would have no added value.
  2. The second is much more problematic: There are companies that specialise in manufacturing company stamps. Their websites even offer the possibility of personalising the information on the stamp without requiring proof.

In short, anyone can get a company stamp in any company’s name with incorrect information that wasn’t verified before the stamp was created.
The company stamp therefore in no way guarantees legitimacy. Not unlike handwritten statements, its aim is credibility for a company and reassurance for parties signing an official contract. Its presence on official documents is completely optional and doesn’t commit the issuing company.

Electronic signature and company stamp

A company stamp is no substitute for an official signature though. It has no legal value, unlike a handwritten signature or an electronic signature.

The company stamp appears to be totally outdated in the push to digitise processes.

  • A European regulation called eIDAS which carefully and precisely regulates the use of electronic signatures
  • Assurance that the signed document could not be modified after signing
  • A proof file generated after each signature that guarantees the authenticity of electronic signatures
  • ...

The electronic signature will allow you and others to sign all your documents with a process that’s simple, secure, speedy, and (unlike a company stamp) silent!

See the esignature for yourself: try Yousign for free for 14 days !