A qualified electronic signature and a qualified electronic seal are both types of digital signatures used in electronic communications to verify the integrity and authenticity of electronic documents. However, they have some differences in their specific purposes and functions.
Qualified Electronic Signature: A qualified electronic signature is a digital signature that meets specific legal requirements defined by relevant regulations, such as the eIDAS Regulation in the European Union. It is considered equivalent to a handwritten signature and is typically used to sign electronic documents, contracts, or transactions to provide evidence of the signer's intent, integrity of the document, and identity of the signer. Qualified electronic signatures typically require the use of a qualified certificate issued by a qualified trust service provider (QTSP), and they provide a higher level of legal validity and evidentiary value compared to regular electronic signatures.
Qualified Electronic Seal: A qualified electronic seal, on the other hand, is a digital seal used by legal entities, such as organizations or companies, to verify the integrity and authenticity of electronic documents that they produce or issue. It is typically used for documents such as invoices, contracts, or official records. Similar to a qualified electronic signature, a qualified electronic seal must also meet specific legal requirements defined by relevant regulations, and it typically requires a qualified certificate issued by a qualified trust service provider (QTSP). The key difference is that while a qualified electronic signature is used to sign a document by an individual, a qualified electronic seal is used to apply a digital seal on a document by an organization.
In summary, a qualified electronic signature is used by individuals to sign electronic documents, while a qualified electronic seal is used by organizations to apply a digital seal on electronic documents they produce or issue. Both types of signatures have legal validity and evidentiary value, but they have different use cases and requirements based on the roles of the signer and the sealer.