|Dennis Eric Toeppen|
|Born||1964 (age 52–53)
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|
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 waging an initial price war with rival Greyhound Lines, fares in competitive markets had been reduced, and Suburban Express' ticket sales in Urbana-Champaign equaled those of Greyhound by 1985.
In 2013, Suburban Express received negative media coverage and a large amount of criticism from the Internet 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, Inc., a charter bus company with three buses and four vans as of 2014.
Domain registration & trademark litigation
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 Air Lines), neiman-marcus.com (Neiman Marcus), eddiebauer.com (Eddie Bauer) and yankeestadium.com (New York Yankees). Some of these companies, like Delta Air Lines, paid Toeppen to acquire the domain names from him.
In 1996, Panavision, a camera manufacturing company, sued Toeppen for trademark infringement instead of paying him $13,000 for the domain. In 1998, the court ruled that Toeppen had to relinquish the domain name to Panavision. In a similar case brought in 1996, Intermatic Inc., a timer manufacturing company, sued Toeppen rather than pay him $5,000 for the domain name intermatic.com. The court ruled that the domain be transferred to Intermatic but ruled Intermatic had not proven willful trademark infringement or unfair competition.
Both the Panavision and Intermatic cases were matters of first impression for the U.S. Courts in dealing with trademarks and domain registrations. The practice of registering trademarked words as domains for sale to trademark holders became known as Cybersquatting, a term that was first used by a court in 1998. In November 1999, after the Panavision case had ended, and while Intermatic Inc. v. Toeppen was still pending, the United States gave trademark holders a cause of action against registrants of domain names containing trademarks, in the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
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- "Intermatic Inc. v. Toeppen, 947 F. Supp. 1227 (N.D. Ill. 1996)" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Intermatic Inc. v. Toeppen, 947 F. Supp. 1227 (N.D. Ill. 1996)" (PDF). 23 March 2001. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
As in Panavision International LP v Toeppen...The particular issues in this case were primarily issues of first impression and at the relevant period there was a lack of legal precedent regarding issues arising from the intersection of trademark law and the Internet.
- "Avery Dennison v Sumpton". Intellectual Property in Cyberspace: Domain Names & Trademarks. Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Isenberg, Doug. "The Origins of 'Cybersquatting'". Retrieved 15 June 2016.