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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 14, 2012 at 5:30 AM

Caradigm? A $50 name for Microsoft, GE venture

One of the biggest startups in the Seattle area announced it’s new name — Caradigm — but didn’t mention the backstory.

Caradigm was chosen by Microsoft and GE as the name for their new digital health venture that’s starting later this year in Redmond with about 750 employees.

In a blink it will become one of the region’s largest tech companies and establish the area as an important center for health information systems.

Caradigm will develop and sell software used by health-care organizations, caregivers and patients, combining products such as Microsoft’s Amalga platform and GE’s eHealth information exchange.

There’s a little snag, though.

Another organization already makes digital health software called Caradigm and holds the Caradigm.com Web address.

Santa Barbara, Calif.-based CenCal Regional Health Authority came up with the name — a mix of “care” and “paradigm” — and trademarked it back in 2002. Caradigm.com now points to CenCal’s main site, which lists Caradigm in its index.

Caradigm was the name chosen for a health information system developed by the authority to handle eligibility, claims processing and reporting.

CenCal has been in touch with Microsoft and GE about the name, according to CenCal Chief Executive Robert Freeman.

“We’re talking to them,” he said via email. “No agreement yet, but everything’s been very cordial. I’m sure we’ll work something out.”

CenCal probably spent a lot less coming up with the name than Microsoft and GE, Freeman joked.

The organization held an internal naming contest for its new IT system. The employee who thought up the name received $50 and a pizza party.

Freeman said he guesses Microsoft and GE “spent a tad more” to come up with their venture’s name.

CenCal actually let the trademark close in October 2010, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which shows Microsoft and GE applied for the Caradigm trademark on Jan. 24.

They first announced their new venture in December.

Microsoft spokeswoman Martha Sherman said the company is “pursuing various options for the URL” and expects to work things out in time for the new Caradigm’s debut.

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