I work as a software developer in industry, but I like to read various academic papers to get exposure to ideas that may benefit my work. I may not apply exactly the technique described in a single paper, but my work is certainly influenced by the ideas I've encountered. My question, though, is what is the proper way to provide attribution for the papers that have influenced my work?
If the product of my work were an academic paper, the rules would be quite clear, but here I'm making a product that is ultimately my employer's IP, for which the implementation details may even be considered trade secrets. I'm struggling to find the proper ethical reconciliation between my professional obligations and the spirit of academia that favors free dissemination of knowledge in the hope that it encourages more of the same in return. I don't want to steal anyone's work, but neither do I want to shut myself off from valuable lines of thought.