Two peoples withdrew money from a bank with identical seals. Guess what? They both lost $4000 or so. In the court sentence for this case, the guy will be reimbursed in full, because the seal of the copy hanko was different. The edge was thicker. As a proffessional, the bank should have found the difference when they saw the paper. The women will not get any money, because in her case the copy seal looked very close and it was hard to tell the difference...Link
Reader comment: Joi Ito says: "I was on a government study group of the National Police Agency in Japan and we were discussing digital signatures. One police forensics guy said that with Hanko, they traced the hanko inks used in different banks for verifying where the hanko was used and they were worried, at the time, that they wouldn't be able to use this technique with digital signatures. Also, there have been some very good hanko copying technologies demonstrated on TV.
"One more thing, in Japan, you have 'jitsuin' and 'sanmonban.' Jitsuin is the hanko that you register with the government. Anything stamped with that is legally binding whether you stamped it yourself or not. With a sanmonban, which is not registered with the government, unless you stamped it yourself or allowed someone to stamp with with intent, legally, I think you can get out of being responsible."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.