Given the absence of a complete legal reference normative to be used by manufacturers and/or project designers, research aims to work on defining a legal framework for the use of robotics in various fields.

ROBOMORE‘s comparative law group focuses on:

Autonomous car

  • Responsibility for the damages – who is responsible the driver? the car manufacturer? the server producer? (this research is particularly focused on comparative private law issues, since each of the said agents may be placed in a different country and therefore subject to a different legislation)
  • Regulation about the collection of sensitive data from the car (the car collects information on time and place of travel)
  • Insurance coverage.

Internet of things:

sensitive data protection: who can store data? what consent may be required in each and every country? when can data be discovered to the authorities.


  • Privacy issues and ethical implications: protection of data captured and transmitted by robots
  • Tort, product liability, strict liability and liability for third parties’ damages incurred because of the robot
  • Insurance coverage for the legal liability due to bodily injuries and/or property damages (e.g. incidents involving the robot and third parties; in the event of robots helping the elderly to walk, who is liable for the damages caused by the robot?).

The European Parliament adopted a Resolution on February 16, 2017, containing recommendations to the Commission on civil law rules on robotics. The Resolution calls for a new European agency dealing specifically with robotics, in order to adopt directives and regulations on civil liability.

The EU Parliament also repeatedly called on both the Commission and Member States to strengthen financial instruments for research projects in the field of robotics and information and communication technologies.

Biomedical engineering:

  • Tort and liability
  • Insurance coverage for the legal liability due to bodily injuries (e.g. who is responsible for damage caused to a surgical patient, operated by means of a robot: the surgeon or the manufacturer of the machine? In case of incidents involving a person with a prosthesis, may the designer of the artificial device  be liable for damages connected with the use of the prosthesis?).

Home automation:

  • Privacy issues: how to store data and to protect them from their widespread diffusion (e.g. to google)
  • Liability and insurance coverage.

Home automation for the elderly and disabled:

  • Privacy issues
  • Liability and insurance coverage.

Patent and patent law:

Given that patents are granted and enforced solely within domestic borders, it is essential to study how to protect a specific invention on the larger scale, to maximize profits and avoid losses. Thus it is necessary to work comparatively on the various legislation of the countries where the goods should be produced and sold.


Prof. Maria Donata Panforti

dr. Isabella Ferrari

Topic: Legal and ethical issues


Ferrari I (2018). “Robots for the family: protection of personal data and civil liability”, in (a cura di Margaret F. Brinig) The International Survey of Family Law 2018 Edition. vol. 1, Intersentia, ISBN: 978-1-78068-663-9