SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — An engineer who admitted he tried to sell fighter-pilot training software to the Chinese Navy was sentenced Wednesday to 24 months in federal prison in the first sentencing for a newly defined intellectual property crime.

Xiaodong Sheldon Meng, 44, was sentenced on the rare charge of committing economic espionage against the U.S. It's the most serious crime under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 and involves stealing trade secrets to benefit a foreign government.

Only five cases have been filed under the law, three of them in Silicon Valley, which authorities say is fertile ground for trade secret thieves looking to make a quick buck or bolster the technological and military development of foreign nations.