Google continues to update features and make tweaks to Docs - that is just the way Google Apps works. One of the features added in early August 2012 is for the Spreadsheet Doc. It is now possible to designate a named range as a protected range. This can come in handy if you are collaborating with many users and there is a certain range of cells that should not be changed, unless the changing is done by the owner of that document.
Note: this feature will have to be added or turned on by your Google Apps administrator if you are in a corporate environment.
Once the feature is active, using it is very simple. In your spreadsheet, highlight a group of cells and then right-click that highlighted area. In the context menu you will see an item with the title Name and protect range, similar to Figure A.
Name and protect range
Clicking on that menu item will display the Name and protected ranges configuration box (Figure B) where you can name your range and click a check box to indicate it is to be a protected range.
When you click Save, you will be presented with a Share settings configuration screen where you can indicate which users can access the protected named range - right now that is just me. (Figure C)
Share settings configuration screen
If you are taking advantage of Google Doc’s collaborative features, it likely that at some point you will want to protect some cells from inadvertent editing during a project. With the Protect a named range feature you can do that very easily.