Corporations, public relations firms and media companies will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of the pending Supreme Court case between Nike Inc. and a California consumer, which stands to redefine what constitutes false advertising.

Their concern is whether the Supreme Court will let stand a California case saying Nike’s defense in 1997 against antisweatshop allegations wasn’t protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment free-speech protections. The court in April will hear the case arising from San Francisco activist Marc Kasky, claiming that Nike lied about conditions in its Asian contractors when mounting a public relations campaign assuring consumers that the factory conditions and treatment of its workers met high standards.

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