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11 Jan 2003

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

Supreme Court to take up Nike and free speech [USA]

A San Francisco consumer activist's suit against Nike Inc. is headed for the Supreme Court and a ruling that could redraw the boundaries between free speech and regulated advertising…The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in May that a Nike public relations campaign about conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers in its Asian factories was the equivalent of advertising because it was intended to "maintain and increase its sales and profits." The ruling reinstated a consumer lawsuit seeking to force the company to refund profits based on allegedly deceptive statements. Nike contended the ruling would effectively muzzle companies' ability to speak out on controversial issues…A Supreme Court ruling is due by the end of June.