The Bush administration on Monday placed the 12 countries on a "priority watch list", which will subject them to extra scrutiny and could eventually lead to economic sanctions if the administration decides to bring trade cases before the World Trade Organization.
Another 31 countries were placed on lower level monitoring lists, indicating the concerns about copyright violations in those nations did not warrant the highest level of scrutiny.
The annual report, known as a "Special 301 Report," for the section of US trade law that it covers, said that China has a special stake in upgrading its protection of intellectual property rights, given that its companies will be threatened by rampant copyright piracy as they increase their own innovation.
The designations occurred in the report that the administration is required to provide the Congress each year highlighting problems American companies are facing around the world with copyright piracy, which they contend is costing them billions of dollars in lost sales annually.
"We must defend ideas, inventions and creativity from rip-off artists and thieves," US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab said in a statement accompanying this year's report.
In addition to India, Russia and China, the nine countries placed on the priority watch list were Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela. - DDNews India