Sports apparel giant Nike Inc on Monday asked the US Supreme Court to review a ruling by a California court that it can be sued for false advertising over claims relating to an old ad campaign.

The Oregon-based company said it will ask the nation’s highest court to "reaffirm the First Amendment right of businesses to discuss public issues".

In May, judges sitting at California’s Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in favour of activist Marc Kasky and said Nike's comments in defence of its labour practices were commercial and not protected by the right of free speech.

Nike said yesterday the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case in December or January and as a result of the earlier ruling it will not make public its annual corporate responsibility report, which reviews the company's labour compliance, community affairs and other issues.

It added: "The ... decision in this case ... will continue ... to substantially restrict the communication of important information regarding a uniquely valuable perspective on hotly debated social issues, and it will do so far beyond California's borders.

"The continuing prospect of liability under the Kasky holding casts a genuinely global pall over speech and will continue to cast that pall whatever happens on remand in this case ..."