In discussing Mistake #1 – Conclusory assertion rather argument with explanation – I noted that Applicants often fail to make a real argument on appeal. One reason may be that the Examiner hasn't given the Applicant much to work with, so that there's nothing specific to rebut.
But by the time you reach appeal, the Examiner has probably made specific findings about how the reference teaches your claim elements. If so, you need to pay attention to exactly what the Examiner said, and deal with it. Here are a few examples where the Applicant failed to do this and lost:
This passage suggests that the functional circuit design, on which the Examiner reads the recited "initial IC device design" (Answer 3), contains information indicating which structures (e.g., transistors and interconnect lines) are connected to each other, which would appear to be enough to satisfy the claim. Appellants have not explained why the Examiner's reliance on paragraph  is misplaced, instead simply asserting that "[t]here is no language in the cited passages that teaches that the initial IC device design includes a desired relationship between at least two structures within the IC device design" (Reply Br. 6). The rejection of claim 7 is therefore affirmed.
(Ex parte Lukanc, emphasis added.)
The Examiner’s uncontested finding that Yamamoto’s figure 4(c) depicts the locking member 4A (the “connecting member”) having an “abutment section” (the upper right section of U-shaped intermediate portion 41) engaging the lower face of main portion 30 (the “corresponding section of said main holder member”) belies Appellants’ arguments (see App. Br. 8, Reply Br. 2-3) that Yamamoto’s locking member 4A does not have a front abutment section which engages the holder main member 3. See Facts 1 and 4.
(Ex parte Yanagita, emphasis added.)
With respect to Appellants’ argument that Franchere does not teach the “wells for containing a fluid sample therein” feature required by claims 1, 12, 27, and 35, Appellants’ argumennt is unpersuasive of reversible error because it fails to address the Examiner’s stated case, which is based on, inter alia, Franchere’s test tubes and the corresponding openings in Franchere’s modular units, as meeting the “wells” feature required by claims 1, 12, 27, and 35. In this regard, the Examiner finds and Appellants do not specifically dispute that Franchere’s test tubes are capable of containing a fluid sample therein. (Compare Ans. 3 and 4 with App. Br. 6-10 and Reply Br. 2-5). On the present record, the term “well” is any depression that can hold a fluid sample. Accordingly, Appellants’ argument is unpersuasive of reversible error.Don't forget to see if the Examiner has specifically addressed claim construction, and to contest the interpretation if your argument implicitly relies on a different interpretation of that term.
(Ex parte Blouin, emphasis added.)
Next, we turn to the Appellants' argument that neither Carmody nor DeWolf teaches systematically updating the detailed record. Br. 2-5. In response the Examiner construes the term systematical to be "methodical in procedure or plan;" ... then finds that paragraph  of Carmody and paragraph  of DeWolf teach this limitation. Answer 10. The Appellants do not challenge the reasonableness of the Examiner's construction nor do they address the Examiner's specific finding above that Carmody and DeWolf teach this limitation.We are not persuaded by this argument of the Appellants.Finally, you should specifically look for new findings, reasoning, or claim interpretation in the Examiner's Answer. Then you need to file a Reply Brief to address any new stuff, as noted in this BPAI decision:
(Ex parte Capotosto, emphasis added.)
[The Appeal Brief] argument overlooks the fact that the process depicted in Figure 5 is performed at each data rate. ... Furthermore, as pointed out by the Examiner in the Answer, Pinard specifically describes using the data rate as a basis for selecting an AP ... Appellants, who did not file a reply brief, have not addressed, let alone shown error in, the Examiner’s reliance on these column 2 passages.Since I've started this series on Mistakes when arguing at the BPAI, I've heard from several readers who ask how to square the BPAI decisions I've cited with the BPAI's own precedential opinion Ex parte Frye. After all, doesn't Frye say that the BPAI should not give deference to the Examiner's findings?
(Ex parte Backe.)
It seems to me that Frye clearly limits that deference to contested findings.
... Specifically, the Board reviews the particular finding(s) contested by an appellant anew in light of all the evidence and argument on that issue.
Filing a Board appeal does not, unto itself, entitle an appellant to de novo review of all aspects of a rejection. If an appellant fails to present arguments on a particular issue – or, more broadly, on a particular rejection – the Board will not, as a general matter, unilaterally review those uncontested aspects of the rejection. For example, if an appellant contests an obviousness rejection only on the basis that a cited reference fails to disclose a particular limitation, the Board need not review the other, uncontested findings of fact made by the examiner underlying the rejection, such as the presence of uncontested limitations in the prior art.