|Dennis Eric Toeppen|
|Born||1964 (age 50–51)
Mount Prospect, Illinois
|Education||BS, MS, MBA|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Chicago
|Occupation||Bus company owner|
|Home town||Mount Prospect, Illinois|
Dennis Toeppen is an entrepreneur from central Illinois and the owner of bus company Suburban Express. He is also known for being a party to two cases of first impression relating to Domain Name registration.
Early life and education
Dennis Eric Toeppen grew up in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He graduated from Prospect High School in 1982 and enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in electrical engineering. He later changed his major to business, and graduated in 1987. Thereafter, he obtained a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master's degree in transportation from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
In 1983, Toeppen started Suburban Express, a bus company which provides transportation from Urbana-Champaign and several other towns containing universities to Chicago. After a price war with Greyhound which involved two Illinois Commerce Commission investigations initiated by Greyhound, Suburban Express' ticket sales equaled that of Greyhound by 1985.
In 2013, Suburban Express received a large amount of negative media coverage after filing 125 lawsuits against passengers and threatening others including a Reddit moderator. Afterwards, the company withdrew its lawsuits, then reinstated many.
Toeppen also started Allerton Charter Coach, a charter bus company with three buses and four vans as of 2014.
In 1995, Toeppen registered about 200 internet domain names including some which were similar to well known companies and popular trademarks. Some of them included panavision.com (Panavision), deltaairlines.com (Delta Airlines), neiman-marcus.com (Neiman Marcus), eddiebauer.com (Eddie Bauer) and yankeestadium.com (New York Yankees). Some of these companies, like Delta Airlines, paid Toeppen to acquire the domain names from him.
Panavision, a camera manufacturing company, sued Toeppen for trademark infringement instead of paying him $13,000 for the domain. The court ruled in favor of Panavision, forcing Toeppen to relinquish the domain name. In a similar case, Intermatic Inc., a timer manufacturing company, sued Toeppen instead of paying him $5,000 for the domain name intermatic.com. The case was ruled in favour of Intermatic. In 1999, US congress made it illegal to knowingly register websites containing trademarks with the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
In July 2014, Toeppen was arrested and released on bail on two counts of "harassment through electronic communications," a misdemeanor in Illinois, going back to the spring of 2013. The charges arose after a former customer complained that lewd comments were posted on Reddit about himself and another person.
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- Rozek, Dan (1985-10-20). "Fare wars - Bus service run by student butts heads with Greyhound". Daily Herald (Arlington Heights).
- "Dennis Toeppen's website". Retrieved June 20, 2013.
- Gallagher, Sean (2013-04-26). "Express to Internet Hate: Bus company threatens redditor with lawsuit". Ars Technica.
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- Newenham, Pamela (2013-05-30). "Make sure you have control of your domain – or prepare to pay the price". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
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- Peter, Lewis (1996-09-12). "The Internet's Gatekeeper May Cash In on Its Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Intermatic Inc. v. Toeppen, 947 F. Supp. 1227 (N.D. Ill. 1996).
- Ditman, Tim (July 16, 2014). "Bus company owner charged with online harassment". The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana). Retrieved July 16, 2014.
- "Bus firm owner charged with harassing customers - Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 August 2014.