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Sriracha Creator Fine With Rip-Offs

Restaurants and food companies can slap “Sriracha” on anything and they don’t owe the makers of the popular hot sauce a dime. Vietnamese refugee David Tran built a Sriracha empire but failed to ever trademark the deliciously spicy sauce. Now, Heinz, Frito-Lay, and Subway are just using “Sriracha” as a descriptor without using Tran’s sauce. Tran doesn’t have any problem with it and he has no desire to trademark Sriracha. “Everyone wants to jump in now,” he said. “We have lawyers come and say ‘I can represent you and sue’ and I say ‘No. Let them do it.’” That may be because sales of his original Sriracha bottles have grown by as much as $80 million a year in just the last two years.