Legal Testbed:

Next to digitization and individualization, automation is the third key pillar of industry 4.0. Increased networking in production and logistics is simplifying many processes. Ultimately they can even be carried out autonomously by special software components (agents). The Legal Testbed provides a simulation environment to support the development of agents by SMEs with a focus on reviewing legal certainty and IT security.



The challenge

The conclusion and performance of contracts by people is subject to the German Civil Code (BGB) or also the German Commercial Code (HGB). When contracts are concluded by machines in an industry 4.0 environment, followed by fully automated contract performance, numerous difficult legal issues have to be resolved. Technically it is already possible to allow machines to negotiate with each other and conclude contracts. But what does that mean in terms of the applicable law? Or perhaps more accurately: What is the applicable law, and what solutions are there for legal certainty? The Legal Testbed project aims to answer these and other questions.


Our contribution

In the Legal Testbed project, Fraunhofer ISST primarily supports the conceptual design of use cases and the recording of requirements. Our employees are also taking the lead in developing the overall component architecture and designing the interfaces for the Legal Testbed. A solution compatible with the International Data Spaces reference architecture model and industry 4.0 (RAMI) is being created with the conceptual design of the architecture. The entire project is supported by the industry 4.0 platform.



Contract negotiation and conclusion by machines is simulated in the Legal Testbed and legal problems are analyzed. Recommendations are made for the development of new legal standards. The project is intended to produce concrete approaches and tools as well as sample clauses and contract templates. Small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) in particular are thereby provided with a basis to better assess the legal risks associated with communication between machines. The Legal Testbed also provides support in the development of own software agents based on templates and specific evaluations.



  • Fraunhofer IML
  • Saarland University (Institute of Legal Informatics IFR)
  • Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security (HGI)




  • FSubsidized by: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
  • Project number: 13I40V002A
  • Term: 05/2019-04/2023