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Qualified electronic signature

EU Directive 2001/115/EC, the "e-Invoicing Directive", provides the legal framework for electronic invoicing in Europe. In Germany, the electronic exchange of invoices is governed by the relevant regulations in the German "Umsatzsteuergesetz (UstG)" (Value Added Tax Act). According to paragraph 14, clause 1 sentence 2 "Invoices may also be sent by electronic means, subject to an acceptance by the recipient". According to paragraph 14, clause 3 of the same law, the sender of electronically transmitted invoices is to provide a qualified electronic signature to ensure the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the contents, i.e. as protection against forgery.