Dennis Toeppen

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Dennis Eric Toeppen
Born 1964 (age 50–51)
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Residence Champaign, Illinois
Nationality United States
Education BS, MS, MBA
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Northwestern University
University of Chicago
Occupation Bus company owner
Years active 1983–present
Employer Self-employed
Organization Suburban Express
Home town Mount Prospect, Illinois

Dennis Toeppen is an American entrepreneur and the owner of bus company Suburban Express.[1] He is also known for being a party to two cases of first impression relating to Domain Name registration.

Early life and education[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Bus transportation[edit]

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.[2]

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.[4][5][6] Afterwards, the company withdrew its lawsuits, then reinstated many.[7] A former customer who was an active online commentator further alleged that Toeppen had posted lewd comments on Reddit about himself and another person.[8]

Toeppen also started Allerton Charter Coach, Inc., a charter bus company with three buses and four vans as of 2014.[9]

Cybersquatting activities[edit]

In 1995, Toeppen registered about 200 internet domain names including some which were similar to well known companies and popular trademarks.[10] Some of them included (Panavision), (Delta Air Lines), (Neiman Marcus), (Eddie Bauer) and (New York Yankees).[10] Some of these companies, like Delta Air Lines,[11] paid Toeppen to acquire the domain names from him.[12]

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.[10][13][14][15] In a similar case, Intermatic Inc., a timer manufacturing company, sued Toeppen instead of paying him $5,000 for the domain name[16] The case was ruled in favour of Intermatic.[10][17] In 1999, US congress made it illegal to knowingly register websites containing trademarks with the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.[12]


  1. ^ Dodson, Don (1990-04-18). "News-Gazette (Champaign)" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b Rozek, Dan (1985-10-20). "Fare wars - Bus service run by student butts heads with Greyhound". Daily Herald (Arlington Heights). 
  3. ^ "Dennis Toeppen's website". Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ Gallagher, Sean (2013-04-26). "Express to Internet Hate: Bus company threatens redditor with lawsuit". Ars Technica. 
  5. ^ Gallagher, Sean (2013-06-19). "Bus company that threatened redditor with lawsuit tries to reopen suit". Ars Technica. 
  6. ^ Franz, Justin (2013-04-29). "Bus Company Threatens to Sue Redditor Over Bad Press". The Daily Dot. 
  7. ^ Gallagher, Sean (2013-05-02). "Nonstop to schadenfreude: Suburban Express’ u-turn on reddit lawsuit". Ars Technica. 
  8. ^ "Bus firm owner charged with harassing customers - Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Allerton website". Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d Bidgoli, Hossein. The Internet Encyclopedia: P - Z. p. 455. 
  11. ^ Wayner, Peter (September 21, 1998). "Compressed Data; What's in a Web Name? Sometimes, Mistaken Identity". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  12. ^ a b 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. 
  13. ^ Spinello, Richard. Cyberethics: Morality and Law in Cyberspace. 
  14. ^ Graham, Lawrence (1999). Legal Battles That Shaped the Computer Industry. Praeger. pp. 135–138. ISBN 1567201784. 
  15. ^ Panavision Int'l, L.P. v. Toeppen, 945 F. Supp. 1296 (C.D. Cal. 1996), aff'd, 141 F.3d 1316 (9th Cir. 1998).
  16. ^ Peter, Lewis (1996-09-12). "The Internet's Gatekeeper May Cash In on Its Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Intermatic Inc. v. Toeppen, 947 F. Supp. 1227 (N.D. Ill. 1996).