A company seal is an official seal a company may use on certain types of documents, depending on the nation where it operates. Seals carry more weight than individual signatures, as they represent the company as a whole, rather than an agent acting on behalf of the company. In some nations, like Britain and Canada, seals are not widely used except for in certain formal situations. In others, like Japan and India, seals may be required on certain kinds of documents in order to make them official.
The design of a company seal can be quite variable. The device needs to be relatively simple so it will show clearly when stamped or impressed. A variant on the company logo may be included, along with the company name and other decorative features. The seal should be distinctive enough to be clearly identifiable. If another company has a similar name or logo, features may be added to make the seal stand out. Equipment for producing seals is stored in a safe place to prevent falsification of legal documents.
One common use of company seals is on deeds. The law may require seals and signatures to make it clear a deed is being executed by a company, not by an agent. This can prevent situations where agents act independently and against the interests of the company or the expressed wishes of board members and shareholders. The seal marks deeds and related documents as official, allowing clerks to formally record changes of ownership.
Stock certifications, bonds, and other securities issued by a company may also be marked with the company seal. This may be required by law, or done by convention, depending on the nation. The company seal on such documents confirms their official nature and assures people that their investment interest in the company has been properly recorded by a company clerk. Typically the seal is raised and may be high contrast to make sure it will show up when copies are made of the documents.
The company seal on official documents is easy to identify. It is typically circular and may be embossed or made by attaching a sticker or plaque to a document. In some cases, a signature is placed below the seal. The signature indicates that a company officer placed the seal and approved the document, creating another layer of verification and security to make sure the document is official.