TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Use of Bell Logo: Qwest? SBC?

Use of Bell Logo: Qwest? SBC?

Allen Newman (
Sun, 18 Sep 2005 15:15:38 -0500

Trademarks must remain in use to remain legally protected, so I'm
curious where and how Qwest ("my" Baby Bell) uses the Bell logo, if at
all. In most cases Qwest has eliminated it since merging with US
West. You can still make out the shadow of a Bell logo removed from
the wall of a Qwest building in Ankeny, Iowa, for example.

Last night on the way to a wedding reception I saw a Bell logo that
Qwest hasn't gotten rid of: a wooden pay phone kiosk inside the south
entrance of the Sioux Falls VFW Lounge still has a Bell sign on top,
with the blue Bell logo to the left of the word "phone". Except for
Qwest signs tacked to the sides of the kiosk it looked a couple
decades old. Does Qwest affixing new signs without taking down the
Bell sign count as current use for trademark purposes? It seems
better than the example Qwest filed with the USPTO in 2003, which was
a couple photos of a US West payphone kiosk, which didn't even have
the Qwest identity.

Even without the logo, Qwest does try to connect less obviously to the
Bell identity. Its Dex phone book is still blue and gold, the Qwest
logotype is in the Gill Sans font which has also been the corporate
font of AT&T (although the Bell System used Helvetica), and their
current slogan is "Spirit of Service", a long-time Bell System motto.
Arguably, Qwest's blue swoosh logo echos the circular blue Bell logo
-- or would, at least, clash with it if the Bell logo were also

Has anyone ever seen an example of Qwest intentionally adding the Bell
logo to anything anywhere? I wonder what they'll come up with when
their next trademark filing is due.

The other RBOCs have filed their own claims of Bell logo usage:

In 2002, SBC submitted a photo of a white service truck with blue and
gold stripes and Southwestern Bell Telephone markings. Do their
trucks still look like that? It's about as convincing as Qwest's US
West phone booth. It'll be interesting to learn what SBC does with
branding after their purchase of AT&T.

Also in 2002, Verizon submitted photos of new Verizon service trucks
and pay phones featuring the Bell logo. IMO Verizon has cleverly
dealt with the Bell logo "problem", that is, keeping it alive and
meaningful but not letting it compete with their own created identity.

Finally, both of the Baby Bells that don't use the Bell logo
themselves license Bell names and logos to equipment manufacturers.
Qwest licenses Northwestern Bell to Unical and SBC licenses
Southwestern Bell to Conair. This despite Northwestern Bell and
Southwestern Bell no longer being names Qwest or SBC use themselves,
and the fact that while Qwest and SBC sell phone equipment on their
websites, it's not their licensed Bell-branded equipment.

Bell logo trademark registrations can be found by searching for design
code 220324 260101 at the USPTO.

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