Ecommerce giant Amazon has apologised after sending a legal notice to a London fishmonger demanding his chain of stores stop advertising “prime day” boat fish.

Robin Moxon, the owner of four fish shops and a fish smokery in London, received an email from lawyers acting on behalf of the US-based retail behemoth asking for references to “prime day” boat fish to be “pulled” from Moxon’s website to avoid shoppers mistaking it for an Amazon offer.

Following the email, the fishmonger said he phoned solicitors at Morgan Lewis & Bockius and explained that the term had been used by fish sellers for centuries. “The prime day phrase was being well used probably before Amazon existed in this country and before Jeff Bezos was a glint in his mother’s eye,” Moxon said.

He added that the phrase “prime day” catch was a “nice, neat little phrase” fishmongers used to advertise it had top quality fish in stock – such as turbot, brill and Dover sole – as bought from trawlers that fish sustainably for no longer than a day at a time.

Moxon’s argument elicited an apology from both Amazon and the legal practice.

Despite the online retailer backing down, Moxon called Amazon’s attempt to stifle the use of “prime day” branding “heavy handed”. “I basically said to them, ‘Are you taking the piss?’,” he said about his conversation with the retailer’s representatives.

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By GlobalData

“I have used it and always will use it, and I don’t see how it can affect their business. It was heavy handed and offensive,” Moxon said.

Amazon has registered “Prime Day” as a trademark, which the firm uses as a slogan for its annual two-day event of deals and offers for Prime members.

According to an email seen by PA, Amazon’s lawyers wrote to Moxon’s on June 21 – the start of its Prime Day sales – expressing “concern” that consumers were “very likely to think that a ‘Prime Day’ sale event/advertisement coinciding with Amazon’s Prime Day is offered in association with Amazon when it is not”.

One wonders whether Amazon doesn’t have bigger fish to fry, what with trying to retain staff and keeping the FTC happy.