Novartis has spurred public protests against its unusual challenge to India's patent laws. The drug giant claims that the rejection of its patent application for the primary ingredient in Gleevec is based on an unconstitutional segment of the patent law which is also in violation of international trade law. The move triggered demonstrations on the part of advocacy groups who are afraid that a successful challenge to the country's patent laws could prohibit the development of cheap therapeutics that millions of patients in developing countries rely on. Novartis, though, says that it is taking action because it needs to clarify the law in the long-term interests of patients. As for Gleevec, the company says it provides the drug free to most Indian patients.