Present-day usage of the Bell name

The Bell System service marks (i.e., the circled-bell logo (especially as redesigned by noted graphic designer Saul Bass in 1969 and seen at the top of this article) and the words Bell System in text) were used before January 1, 1984, when the AT&T divestiture of its regional operating companies took effect. Currently, the Bell word mark, logo, and other related trademarks, are held concurrently by each of the remaining Bell companies namely AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and Cincinnati Bell.[7] International rights to the marks, except for Canada, are held by a joint venture of these companies, Bell IP Holdings. A Verizon payphone with the Bell logo Of the various resulting 1984 spinoffs, only BellSouth actively used and promoted the Bell name and logo for its entire history, from the 1984 break up to its merger with the new AT&T in 2006. Similarly, cessation of using either the Bell name or logo occurred for many of the other companies more than a decade after the 1984 break up as part of an acquisition-related rebranding. The others have only used the marks on rare occasions to maintain their trademark rights, even less now that they have adopted names conceived long after divestiture. Examples include Verizon, which still uses the Bell logo on its trucks and payphones, and Qwest, formerly US West, which licenses the Northwestern Bell and Mountain Bell names to Unical Enterprises, who makes telephones under the

Northwestern Bell name. Cincinnati Bell, a local franchise of the Bell System that was never wholly owned by AT&T and existed separately prior to 1984, also continues to use the Bell name. It stopped using the Bell logo in the summer of 2006, though it is still seen on some bills, vehicles, and other literature. In 1984, each regional Bell operating company was assigned a set list of names they were allowed to use in combination with the Bell marks. Again, aside from Cincinnati Bell, none of these Bell System names are currently in use in the United States. For example, Southwestern Bell used both the Bell name and the circled-bell trademark until SBC opted for all of its companies to do business under the "SBC" name in 2002. Bell Atlantic used the Bell name and circled-bell trademark until renaming itself Verizon in 2000. Of the various resulting 1984 spinoffs, only Bell Canada continues to use the Bell name, although cessation of using either the Bell name and circled-bell trademark occurred for some of these companies multiple decades later. For example, for the multiple decades that Nortel was named Northern Telecom, their research and development arm was Bell Northern Research. Bell Canada and its holding-company parent, Bell Canada Enterprises, still use the Bell name and used variations of the circled-bell logo until 1977, which until 1976 strongly resembled the 1921 to 1939 Bell System trademark shown above.