Box-Wrapping: "single use only" is now enforceable

Box-Wrap Licensing is an odious patent-holder practice that's been upheld by the Ninth Circuit. It allows a patent holder to print terms of use (e.g. "single-use only") on the side of the product box and to force you to abide by them:

What's that, you ask? Evidently, it's when you ignore the terms written on the side of Lexmark printer cartridge box, refilling the cartridge with ink even when the company has designated it "single use only." According to the Ninth Circuit ruling [PDF] this week in ACRA v. Lexmark, opening the package means you agree to Lexmark's wishes. And if you break that agreement, you could face claims under contract and patent law.

As Fred von Lohmann explains it, it's sort of like when you buy those fancy Gillette Sensor razors, then purchase cheap replacement razor heads — except that a court has ruled that if the package says "single use," then by opening it you've agreed you can't have any cheap replacements (but you can buy another Gillette "single use" razor). And that means the company that makes the replacement heads is out of luck, too.