Re: This is a difficult problem to solve...
"On the other side, if you are a company that has literally spent millions, maybe billions, developing a technology, you want your patent as quickly as possible so that you can put your product on the market and begin to recoup the costs."
See the article - even the companies applying for patents have been complaining about the EPO. Yes, a company wants its own patents approved quickly, but it's also very much in their interest to ensure that competitors and trolls can't get crap patents approved that could be used against them, as well as to have the system as a whole trusted so their own patents are less likely to be challenged. Since protection is given from the filing date, not the date a patent is actually granted, most companies are happier with a patent office that takes the time to do the job properly than with one that just rushes everything through as fast as possible.
"Apple and your "rounded edges" on mobile phones: I'm looking at you, you total twats."
This gets brought up a lot, but you have to remember that not all IP systems are the same. Apple does not have a patent on rounded corners. In the USA, they have a "design patent". In Europe, that's known as a registered design, and is much more similar to a trademark than an actual patent. An awful lot of the things causing arguments that invoke the word "patent" actually only use that word in the US, and have nothing to do with any issues the EPO might have since we don't even call them patents over here.