Hadley, MA—American River Nutrition (ARN) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against one U.S. and two Chinese companies. The lawsuit will move forward, after a federal court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint.

The patent-in-suit claims a method of forming tocotrienol compositions from a byproduct generated from the process of extracting annatto colorant from annatto plant seeds, according to a press release. On June 20, the U.S. District Court, Central District of California rejected the defendants’ contention that ARN’s patent claims were “directed at obtaining naturally occurring compositions” and, therefore, not patent-eligible subject matter. District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton, however, found that the patent was directed at a method for obtaining a tocotrienol composition, not at the tocotrienols themselves.

Related: More Than Vitamin E: The Story & Science Behind Tocotrienols: Part 1. An Interview with Barrie Tan, Ph.D.

The process was developed by Dr. Barrie Tan, president of ARN, whose research “has led to crucial discoveries about [delta-tocotrienol’s] varied benefits, such as lipid and inflammation management, protecting bone health and treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”