NEW YORK — Federal marshals in raids on Thursday confiscated more than 100 allegedly counterfeit Judith Ripka jewelry pieces from four companies.
The firms carried multiple categories of jewelry substantially similar to Judith Ripka’s signature gold, silver and colored-stone pieces, according to Judith Ripka executives. The companies were not immediately identified, but are located in the Jewelry Exchange in the 47th Street Diamond District and at 578 Fifth Avenue.
“[Counterfeiting is] a major problem for us,” said Ronald J. Berk, chief executive officer of the Judith Ripka Cos. “I suppose, in a way, it says something about our success. By copying us, they’re flattering us. On the other hand, they’re trying to profit from our individualism, advertising and public relations.”
Judith Ripka, after an internal investigation, obtained a federal court order that led to the raids.
Federal officials were not available for comment.
A separate Judith Ripka counterfeiting case, the result of a raid at a Hong Kong factory two years ago, is pending in Chinese courts and is expected to go to trial this year or in early 2007.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Berk. “It’s expensive to pursue copyright litigation. Too many people were profiting from us, and we decided to put a stop to it. But the second you close one down, another pops up.”
Ripka has 11 U.S. stores, including one here.