Hi, you touched exactly one of the major pain points in many of the Adobe license audits. All licenses acquired outside any volume program or via Cloud are not registered in Adobe's records. Only when you registered via the registration form Adobe would be aware a product registered on your company or employee name. Depending on. how they exactly registered (with their own email address or the companies email address).
For the large part outside of Adobe's systems we talk then about boxes, license acquired in retail indeed. Most customers struggle to keep these boxes stored, administer registrations. When in an audit it will be hard to proof ownership of these purchases. As Adobe holds their customers responsible for keeping the license administration and provide proof of entitlement upon request, this can lead to customers paying again for licenses they acquired before, simply due to the inability to find this proof. I have seen these cases in the past unfortunately, and they can be quite substantial in financial impact if the environment is large.
As you might know Adobe is not actively performing license audits anymore, however the principles of the rights and duties remains the same when you want to have commercial discussions and use existing licenses.
To answer your question if it is a terrible idea to just throw it all way, I would say yes if we talk about many boxes. If you want to throw it away, I advise you to register (via registration forms) these retail purchases so they become known in Adobe's systems. You will have to take the decision if it makes sense to invest time in it or not depending on how many boxes you have related to the total Adobe entitlements. An alternative is to contact your Adobe reseller or an Adobe account manager to assist you with this.
Hope this helps!
Patrick de Veer (B-Lay.com)