Abby:Also, bear in mind that the arguments relating to the defect in the signature may be available to the entity harmed by a wrongful indorsement. But if the indorsement was defective but reflected an authorized transaction, it might be cured by ratification. How such ratification effects standing which must be present at commencement of suit is cloudy.
There is no requirement in the UCC that indorsements be either dated or notarized. When thinking about indorsements, think about the indorsement of a regular bank check. It is the same provision of the UCC which applies.
I do not think that you are going to find any Federal law which would dictate a real signature versus an inked facsimile impression. If anything, the state laws enabling use of facsimile (Fax) transmissions has liberalized rather than tightened provisions regarding the necessity of original signatures.
I would not want to quarrel with a California attorney about this. Though I do not know the California law in this area, his guidance sounds correct. If in doubt, ask another California lawyer.
But I would also clarify that there very well may be a distinction between an inked imprint signature affixed by the person having authority to act and an inked imprint signature affixed by someone else. And a key might very well be whether the person affixing the signature is acting under the express direction of the person with actual authority.
For example, if I tired of signing my name throughout the day and obtained a rubber stamp showing my signature and affixed the signature myself, then I am pretty clearly personally assenting to the indorsement. If I personally inspect the promissory notes and then direct my secretary to affix my signature with the rubber stamp on my behalf, then I am still personnaly assenting though delegating the drudgery. By contrast, if I am the person with the authority to execute the indorsements, but someone in the loan shipping department is stamping my name to indorsements on notes I have never laid eyes on, then a rather key question might be whether the corporate resolution which authorized my signature also authorized me to delegate my duties to someone else (and if so, then why doesn't that person just sign their own name?).
State laws and cases, as well as the unique facts of the case, may very well determine that in one or more of these situations the facsimile signature is not in fact valid. Though I would be inclined to think that this would be because of failure to assent rather than the defect in the method of signature. But you will really have to work to obtain sufficient facts through discovery to make a compelling argument!
It is probably worth noting that in ancient times a gentleman not only signed but also "sealed" documents with his personal seal containing his coat of arms. In some places, sealing a document can give a contract effect even without consideration (which is normally required for every contract). Even in those days, the sealing might be delegated to a trusted servant, but a keeper of a seal would be a person of exceptional trustworthiness.
In thinking about the use of facsimile signatures, focus on what it means to sign -- to grant one's assent -- rather than the means employed. Obviously, an original signature has the advantage that it is personal, though there are many instances where leaders have authorized others to sign on their behalf. In such an instance, the person ought to sign the principal's name and then indicate "by [signer's name]". The legal effect of such a signature varies.