Alleging that Teledyne Technologies (NYSE:TDY) infringed on four patents covering a chemical-purification process widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, W.R. Grace (NYSE:GRA) has filed a lawsuit against its rival to protect its technology, the company announced yesterday.

Grace contends Teledyne subsidiary Teledyne Isco infringed on four Grace patents in the U.S. that cover its proprietary Reveleris X2 flash chromatography system that it introduced in 2009. Flash chromatography is a process of purifying individual chemical compounds from mixtures of compounds in minimal time.

Grace's VP and general manager of the discovery sciences group, Laurie Andriate, was quoted in the company press release as saying, "Patent protection is absolutely essential in a marketplace that values innovation. Companies like Grace, who invest heavily in research and development, can only create the products customers demand if a return on that investment can be assured."

Grace filed for bankruptcy protection more than a decade ago and expects to emerge from it sometime this year. Its subsidiary Alltech Associates filed the lawsuit against the defense contractor.

W.R. Grace employs approximately 6,300 people in more than 40 countries and had 2012 net sales of $3.16 billion.